“I just cannot forgive myself for _______________.”
This statement is something I hear from women over and over. Perhaps you have said it yourself. It sounds reasonable, especially after doing something you wish you had never done; something that causes you monumental regret.
The only problem is that it is not biblical. In fact, nowhere in Scripture will you find one verse that talks about self-forgiveness in order to (a) be truly forgiven, and/or (b) ‘feel’ forgiven and able to move on.
Let’s look at a few verses that speak about forgiveness.
Psalm 32:1 says, “Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sins are covered
Psalm 32:2: Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity
The Hebrew word used in Psalm 32 for ‘blessed’ is asrey, meaning blessed or happy.
Psalm 103:12: As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us
Isaiah 43:25: I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for my own sake; and I will not remember your sins
Hebrews 8:12: Quoting from the Old Testament, the writer of Hebrews reminds his readers of the promise God made to Israel. “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Do you see there is nothing in the verses above about forgiving oneself? With that said, let’s think about times when our actions caused us great regret and the need for forgiveness. Every sin and disobedience that we perpetrate is, first, a direct offense toward our Holy God. Light bulb moment!!! Had you ever considered that truth? (Psalm 51:1-4) Because of that God is the one who must offer forgiveness to us.
You might be thinking, “Leah, I know all that, but I just cannot ‘feel’ forgiven.”
Let me offer an illustration I hope will clarify this for you.
Do you remember when the cute guy who would ultimately become your husband asked you to marry him? Weeks or months later you walked down the aisle and said ‘I do’ to him. The minister pronounced you husband and wife and off you went to begin a new life together.
A few weeks into your married life, you decided to go out with girlfriends. You went to a place where you previously went to meet guys and saw a guy that interested you. You caught his eye, flirted with him. and he eventually asked you out on a date. You accepted.
One of your friends said to you, “But, you just got married a few weeks ago. Your husband is at home. What are you doing?”
To which your response was, “Oh, but I just don’t feel married.”
Most people would say, “Well that is crazy. No one would ever do something that ridiculous.”
Friend, that is exactly what you do when you hold onto the idea that you must feel forgiven in order to move past a sin or the consequence of something you did. If you have sinned and asked God for forgiveness for that sin, it is done. You are forgiven by God and He will never remember that sin again.
Allow me to offer a quote by Dr. James Merritt from his marvelous book entitled, 52 Weeks Through the Psalms.
What do we do with the guilt we feel years after our transgression, sin, or iniquity? To put it plainly, we need to forget. God forgives our sins and then forgets our sins; he charges our sins to Jesus’ account and wipes them off our books. Sometimes we feel guilty even though we are not because we keep trying to remember what God has forgotten and trying to uncover what God has covered.
When we remember what God remembers, we are guilty.
When we remember what God forgets, we feel guilty though we are not.
When we forget what God forgets, we are not guilty and won’t feel guilty.
As deep as our faults go, forgiveness goes even deeper.
Friend, this does not mean that you never think about what you did again. That is likely not humanly possible. What it does mean is that you do not allow guilt to take you captive ever again over what happened. This is a situation where you must apply the old ‘fake it till you make it’ principle. If you have asked God to forgive you for sin, STOP remembering what He has forgotten and walk forward in His forgiveness. You are forgiven, now think and act like a forgiven person.
NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.
I have given you my affiliate links to the book I referenced above by Dr. Merritt and also a marvelous book I am reading for my Life Coach certification, The Lies We Believe by Dr. Chris Thurman. I highly recommend both of these books. If you are reading this post via email, please click HERE to be taken to my website where you can see the links to the books.