When You Don’t Know How To Forgive Yourself
“God has forgiven me, but I just cannot forgive myself.” You may never have said it, but perhaps you have thought it. You can do one of two things: You can go through life constantly defeated, or else you can follow the following guidelines that will tell you how to forgive yourself–once and for all.
Guideline #1: Acknowledge the promise of God to forgive your sin. This guideline means you get out your Bible and a pencil and start marking passages such as 1 John 1:9, Micah 7:13, and Isaiah 43:25 which says, “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” You must realize that the promises of God’s Word rest on His nature and character. He cannot lie, and therefore you can count on Him to honor the promises of His Word.
Simply put, He promised to forgive if you will come to Him and ask for forgiveness–which brings us to our next step. Guideline #2: Confess your sin once and for all. It is at this point that you have to believe what God said is true, and that He will not lie. If you have made confession of the same thing part of your daily prayer, then stop insulting God by asking Him to do the same thing day after day after day.
Guideline #3: Thank God for His forgiveness. “But I do not feel anything,” you might say. Right here a lot of people go astray. They pour out their hearts in scalding confession, and feel great. But, then after a few days, they start thinking about the failure, and then their emotions get into the picture. The guilt they once felt comes back and they do not FEEL God has heard them. Hold steady.
The promises of God are not true if you feel something; they ARE TRUE because of the nature and character of God. Forgiveness is never predicated on how you feel. Rather, it was made possible by Christ’s death; therefore, regardless of the temperature of your heart, you must begin to say, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I thank you that your Word is true. Thank you that you cannot lie. I know you have forgiven me–not because of how I feel, but because I know your Word is true.”
Then follow Guideline #4: Refuse to let your mind dwell on that which is forgiven by God. Satan is alive and well, and he knows if he can bring your failure to your mind enough and get you to thinking about it, you will be defeated.
Years ago, King George V of Britain grew quite fond of a young man who worked in the stable. When the king noticed that the lad was missing, he inquired of his whereabouts. Sadly, the head groom reported that he had been caught stealing oats from the royal garner and was fired. “Send for the boy,” ordered the king.
When the lad stood in front of the king he asked, “Son, did you do it?” Too humiliated to speak, the boy nodded his head.
Finally the king said, “Son, I forgive you.” Then turning to the head groom, the king said, “I want this boy restored to his former position, and I never want this mentioned again. Do you hear, never again!”
That is a valid picture of what God’s forgiveness really is. God told us that He has decided not to remember what you have done, so dwell on that word, FORGIVEN. You CAN forgive yourself as well!