Why I’ve Given Up On Forgiving Myself

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Whenever I read or hear someone saying, but you have to forgive yourself, I ask, why. There is absolutely nowhere in the Bible that says forgive yourself.

We are told to forgive others but never ourselves. (Matthew 6:12b) Why? Because we are not God. We cannot judge ourselves. Only God knows the reasons or motives behind our actions.

Forgive yourself no more

God chooses not to remember our sins. He doesn’t forget them He just doesn’t want to remember them. Perhaps that’s what God wants us to do. Move on, get over it, quit rolling it around in our minds…just forget it. If we are dredging up the past in our thoughts, we are recommitting the sin. Yes, that is Biblical. Take a look at what God says about lusting in Matthew 5:28. Basically, even if you’re thinking it, you’re doing it. Look at Proverbs 4:23. Your life is shaped by your thoughts.

Another way to look at this concept is through the eyes of one who is forgiven. Do you believe that you are forgiven? Do you understand that when Jesus went to the cross He took every one of our sins on Himself? Aren’t you basically saying His death doesn’t matter?

The evil one loves this thought pattern. When we minimize what Jesus did by saying I must forgive myself, satan has a door to enter our thoughts. The second we try to make forgiving about our own ability we have made ourselves God, or at least tried to.

Paul says in Romans 8:1, there is no more condemning for those who believe in Jesus. If you believe that is true, then there is no reason to be concerned with forgiving yourself. Jesus already did the hard work. We are cleansed, washed clean and totally forgiven because of His never-ending grace. We’ve got to get over this need to do it ourselves. He did it! Let that be it!

I must add, however, that we cannot assume that we can go on sinning. It should be our greatest desire never to sin again. Even though we have been ‘made new’ we are probably going to fall into the sin pit again. The Bible is quite clear on the process at that point… Ask for forgiveness from the One and Only… Accept His loving response (Go and sin no more-John 4:1-42)…Do not return to that sin in thought, word or deed… Move on, walk away, give it up…

Heavenly Father, it is my greatest desire not to sin against You in thought, word, or deed. Yet I do. Forgive my bent to thoughts, words, and actions that do not reflect You to the world around me. Help me to listen for the ‘voice’ of the Spirt in everything I think, do, and say. Teach me Your word so that I will know what You want. Make it so in Jesus name.

Blessings to you and yours!


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  1. Alessia says

    With all due respect, I believe you are missing the point of what forgiving oneself actually means. If we can’t forgive ourselves because we are not the judge of our sins, then we can’t be the one condemning ourselves either. If we’re convicted we’ve been forgiven and if we don’t forgive ourself (which means accept into our hearts that we are truly forgiven) then that’s what we are doing. We’re effectively telling God: “thanks for the nice words and this promise of freeing me that sounds very nice but that’s not for me. I’m guilty of X and I will hold on to it.” We dwell on something that we know has been forgiven instead of how wonderful it is to be so loved by God we are forgiven, which is like we don’t truly believe that we are forgiven at all. A guilty conscience is a burden for someone who is convicted but hasn’t yet known that they are forgiven. I think it’s highly unbiblical NOT to forgive oneself once the Father forgave us.

    • Marie says

      I greatly appreciate your comment and conviction. However, Jesus told the woman at the well to go and sin no more. He did not say go home, think it over, then determine yourself if you’re forgiven. He said, you are forgiven, go home, and don’t do it again. I believe He truly doesn’t want us to be rolling our sins around in our minds all the time. (It is as you said, “I’m guilty of X and I will hold on to it.”) When I sin, I ask His forgiveness, accept forgiveness as mine because of His work on the cross, ask Him to keep me aware if the issue comes up again, then I LET IT GO.
      satan wants us rolling our sins around in our minds, feeling guilty about them so that he can get a foothold. Paul’s words in Philippians 3:13-14 give us the example who how to move on as forgiven people. He says he leaves the past behind and moves forward toward the goal.
      God wants a relationship with us and knows that our guilt can and will get in the way of that relationship. My free and forgiven relationship with God suffers when I’m more aware of past sin than I am of His loving presence.

      By the way, Charles Stanley has written a wonderful book on this issue called, The Gift of Forgiveness.


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