I Can’t Forgive Myself – Part 2 - Hope 103.2

I Can’t Forgive Myself – Part 2

When we fail to forgive ourselves, we are like a child who is given a trip to Disney World for Christmas, yet he keeps complaining that he can’t go—even after his parents have already packed the car and are waiting on him to get in! How would you feel if you were that child’s parents? […]

By Chris WittsSunday 10 Jun 2018Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 5 minutes

When we fail to forgive ourselves, we are like a child who is given a trip to Disney World for Christmas, yet he keeps complaining that he can’t go—even after his parents have already packed the car and are waiting on him to get in! How would you feel if you were that child’s parents? Wouldn’t you feel sick inside, knowing that you spend all that money on this trip, the tickets, the hotel reservations, etc.—and your son refuses to go because he doesn’t believe that what you gave him was real?

Think how your heavenly Father feels when he looks down and sees his children walking around beating themselves up over things that he shed his blood so that they could be forgiven and set free from? Here is the key verse from the Bible we should memorise and remember when we say “I can never forgive myself”:

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

  • Read also I Can’t Forgive Myself – Part 1

I’m sure we have to be honest with ourselves—realise that down deep inside, you’re not happy with the person of your past. If you are in denial, then forget trying to treat the root of your problem. You need to see the problem before you can apply the solution. It might even be helpful to list all of the things that you hate about your past, and one by one, give them to the Lord and release yourself from each failure.

At the end of the day, I believe there are several causes for our inability to forgive ourselves. And one of them is—anger. We may be angry with ourselves. Look at the Old Testament story of Joseph. He was a remarkable man who was hated by his brothers, and they tried to kill him. But God had other plans. Joseph said to his brothers, “And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you” (Gen. 45:5). These brothers were beginning to get the message that Joseph had forgiven them; he didn’t want them to be angry with themselves. That is the way God forgives. Jesus does not want us to be angry with ourselves for our sins. Not forgiving ourselves is self-hatred. Joseph’s brothers had hated themselves for selling Joseph into slavery. They could not take back what they had done.

Some Christians who can’t forgive themselves are, underneath it all, angry with themselves. But God can begin today to cause all that happened to fit into a pattern for good. Let the past be past!

The sweet consequence of not keeping a record of all wrongs is that we let go of the past and its effect on the present. We cast our care on God and rely on him to restore the wasted years and to cause everything to turn out for good. We find ourselves accepting ourselves as we are, with all our failures (just as God does), knowing all the while our potential to make more mistakes. God never becomes disillusioned with us; he loves us and knows us inside out.

Moses, David, Jonah, Peter—all these men in the Bible had to forgive themselves before they could move into the ministry God had planned for them. It’s time for you to follow their example. That is exactly what God wants of you and me. Let the past be past—at last.

I read a story in the Encounter magazine from a lady who was looking for advice. She had a family member who was terminally ill, and this is what she wrote:

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I was her 24/7 caregiver which was stressful, and there were times I lost my temper or times when I knew I should do something with her but was hiding in another room because I didn’t like to see her that way. There is so much I did or didn’t do for which I am very regretful and I don’t know how to forgive myself. I have been seeing a counsellor and it has helped me understand but I can’t seem to forgive myself. I know there has to be a way—but how?

And here was the answer:

Dear Janice. When we confess our sins to God, he does forgive us regardless of our feelings. When we can’t forgive ourselves, one reason is because we are either perfectionists or have perfectionist tendencies. The problem then isn’t that we can’t forgive ourselves, but that we are perfectionists who have unreal expectations of ourselves. Another reason can be because of low self-esteem, and we falsely believe that we are not worthy of forgiveness.

So, ask God to give you the insight and courage to face the root cause of your inability to forgive yourself. If you seek this truth with all your heart, when you are ready to face and accept it, you will see it.

In the meantime, try to see that you are expecting more of yourself than God is. Remember, when you confess your sins and failures to him, he forgives you fully and freely. Every day say out loud many times: “Thank you, God, that you have forgiven me and, because you have forgiven me, with your help I forgive me.” Repeatedly stating this with deep emotion or feeling, can help to program this truth into your unconscious mind and into your belief system. Once you truly believe this truth, you will be able to feel forgiven.

Yes, you may find this difficult to do, but do it anyhow because it is based on God’s Word and not your feelings. Just don’t allow your damaged emotions to control your life.

Suggested prayer:

Dear God, thank you that when I confess my sins to you, you have promised to forgive me. Help me to not only know this but also feel it in my heart. And whenever I have a problem forgiving myself, please help me to see the reason for this, and lead me to the help I need to overcome. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus’ name, Amen.