Forgiving yourself is one of the hardest things to do.
I finished teaching on God’s forgiveness and felt pretty good about it. I presented what I thought was an “iron-clad” case for why God’s forgiveness is free and unconditional. When I asked for questions Angie said, “I understand God’s forgiveness. I don’t have a problem with that. I just can’t forgive myself.”
Over the next few posts I want to offer a few suggestions for forgiving yourself. The first one is understanding that we are all failures. It might sound negative but it’s true. We’ve all failed at something. No one is perfect. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
Some people insist on beating themselves up. They recognize that everyone fails in life but they believe against all reason that they are the worst of the worst and deserve harsher treatment. But the Bible tells us that…
There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:23,24
We’ve all fallen short
We are all in the same boat. We have all failed God and fallen short of his standard of perfection. I heard it described once as comparing an Olympic gold medalist swimmer to a novice swimmer. In a pool, the Olympian stands out against the novice. But put them both on the shore of California and tell them to swim to Hawaii and they will both fall short. The size of the ocean is the great equalizer. And the same is true of us all when compared to God.
In a court room some of our lives may be more illegal than others. In a church, some of our lives may be more immoral than others. But when compared to God, none of us measure up to his perfection. No one can boast and no one can take undue guilt upon them because “there is no difference”.
We’re all freely justified
The second part of the verse I quoted above is equally important. It says that “…we are all justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Yes, we all fail. But more importantly, God forgives us and justifies us; that means he puts us in right standing with himself despite our failure. It’s free. A gift. And it’s made possible – not because of what we have done – but because of what Jesus did. Who are we to object to what God has decided?
Forgiveness is for all. It may not make sense or feel right but it’s the truth. We need to bring our thoughts in alignment with what is true.
In another place the Bible says this…
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast…Ephesians 2:8,9
If we are put right with God based on what HE has done then no one can take any credit for being spiritual. But it’s just as true that no one can deny themselves God’s forgiveness. Forgiveness is for all. It may not make sense or feel right but it’s the truth. We need to bring our thoughts in alignment with what is true.
I’ll explore forgiving yourself more in days ahead.
Question: What makes it hard for you to forgive yourself? Leave your comment below.
Learn more about how to forgive yourself in my book, STUCK…how to mend and move on from broken relationships.