This is part five of a series looking at how to forgive yourself. Be sure to track back and read the earlier posts. If you find that you are unable to forgive yourself you have probably believed some lie at a deep level of your being.
Some possible lies are:
- I’m not worthy of being forgiven
- God can’t love me after what I’ve done
- I’m disqualified
- I should give up
- I need to punish myself
- I have nothing to offer
I wrote about lie-based thinking in my book Healing the Hurts of Your Past . If you are convinced of your low worth then it only makes sense that you will look to punish yourself every chance you get. Forgiving yourself is much too kind of an act for a worthless person.
This is what I wrote in Healing the Hurts of Your Past…
How do we treat garbage? Not very well. Why? Because it has no value to us. We toss it in a bag. We toss the bag into the trunk of our car. And then we toss it in a dumpster or in the landfill. In the same way, if you really think that you are worthless, you aren’t going to treat yourself with any value. We do this in a variety of ways…
- Accepting the inferior. Have you ever known someone who was in an abusive relationship? You beg and plead with them to leave it and when they finally do you are thrilled. Now they can find a healthy person. But then, to your shock, within a week they are in another abusive relationship. Why do they do that? Because they don’t think they deserve anyone better. But they don’t limit this behavior to relationships. They accept inferior jobs, inferior service at stores, inferior food at restaurants and inferior workmanship from contractors. They can’t find it in them to demand better because they are convinced that they don’t deserve it.
- Sabotage. Sabotage is when you actually get something good in life but you find reasons to reject it. If you are given a nice present you might “accidentally” break it or lose it. If you find someone who really loves you, you might betray them or reject them before they reject you. If you land a great job you might get drunk and skip work for three days, hoping that they’ll fire you. Losing something good is painful but it is not as painful as the shame you feel for having things you don’t deserve.
Forgiving Yourself Involves Knowing the Truth
In Healing the Hurts of Your Past I mention four other ways that we mistreat ourselves. We could add “not forgiving yourself” to this list as well. The book goes into detail as how to address these lies but the essence is that you find freedom when you come to know and experience the truth (versus the lies) of how God values you. When you are able to grasp God’s view of you then forgiving yourself becomes a possibility.
I have one last post on forgiving yourself to share in a couple of days.
Question: What lies have you believed that have kept you from forgiving yourself? Leave your comment below.