Have you ever had trouble forgiving yourself? Maybe you’re struggling with that now … Learning how to forgive yourself is vital to keeping your relationships with God and your loved ones where they need to be.
Counselors proclaim this well-known fact: “hurting people … hurt people!” The longer you avoid forgiving yourself, the longer you allow yourself to harbor those unhealthy feelings that you deserve to be punished and to suffer for what you did, the more volatile you will become and, therefore, the more apt you are to hurt the loved ones around you. You are in a vulnerable place when you are cut off from God and those who love you.
Why do we have trouble forgiving ourselves? Many times it’s because we haven’t fully accepted God’s forgiveness. We struggle to let go of the destructive baggage of guilt and shame.
Guilt and conviction are different. God convicts through our conscience … using an emotion that feels a lot like guilt … we can label this constructive guilt because it draws us closer to God and to others.
But then there is the destructive self-condemning guilt that seeks to keep us in bondage … which negates the liberating grace of God. Revelation 12:10 tells us that our enemy, the devil, is the accuser of Christians … the forgiven ones. His plan is to keep us trapped in guilt and shame. So we must rebuke our enemy just like Jesus did in Matthew 4 by using the Word of God … here are some verses you can claim to help you forgive yourself:
The blood of Jesus cleanses “me” from all unrighteousness (I John 1:7) and When God forgives our sins, he remembers them no more (Hebrews 10:17). He casts our sins in the deepest sea (Micah 7:19) and he removes our sin from us as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12).
The reality is that you cannot undo past mistakes … you can’t go back and change what happened. It’s going to take time, effort and prayers for patience to restore lives and relationships to where they once were. But all things are possible with God’s help. So forgive yourself and let the healing begin!