Forgive Yourself? How Will You Do That?

Have your heard someone say, "I just can't forgive myself?" It is a popular concept nowadays, but stop and think about it.

How will you forgive yourself? Which part of you forgives the other part?

Based on God's Word, forgiveness and confession cure almost all relationship problems. Why? Because everyone has been wronged, and everyone has wronged others. That is especially true in close relationships. Others have sinned against you, and you have sinned against others. So, that makes guilt one of the biggest problems for everyone.

Of course, guilt is unpleasant, so people try several unhealthy strategies when it is present. For instance, when you’re guilty, instead of confession of guilt to the Lord and others, you…

  • Rationalize – “It really wasn’t wrong! They deserved it!”
  • Deny – “What wrong with that? I didn’t do anything wrong!”
  • Scapegoat (blame) – “I wouldn’t have done it if they... ”
  • Self-Punish (shame) – “I’ll never be able to get over this. Why did I do something like that? How could I have been so dumb?”
  • Medicate (alcohol, drugs) – “I don’t want to think about it; I just want to feel better, now.”
  • Do Penance (good deeds) – “I’ll make it up to them by ...”
  • Self-forgive – “I know that others, even God, have forgiven me, but I just can’t forgive myself!”
Forgive Yourself? How Will You Do That?

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9


Those strategies do not work and do not provide healing, especially the last strategy, “self-forgive." It seems very popular since you hear it often, but it is a trap. For example, consider the statement above: "I know that others, even God, have forgiven me, but I just can’t forgive myself.” 

When you say you can't forgive yourself, what does that say about your view of other’s and God’s forgiveness? Worse yet, where does that put you regarding others and God?

See the problem? Others and God forgave you, but your opinion is that their forgiveness is somehow ineffective, or they may have lied. But, if you can forgive yourself, then everything will be alright.

When you do not accept forgiveness from others and God, you decide to hang on to your guilt. You decide that you are the ultimate decision-maker on when forgiveness is or is not effective in your life.

You Put "ME" Above God

The worst part about forgiving yourself is placing yourself above other people and even God! That means you call God a liar when He says…

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – I John 1:9

You say, “I know that God created the Universe, but He can't deal with what I have done.” Some people say that is not what they are thinking. They say they are thinking, “I just feel so bad that I did it that I just can’t get it out of my mind.” It doesn't matter how you word it; it still comes back to putting yourself in a higher position than God - not believing God's Word.

It's Not Self-forgiveness - It's Understanding Confession

So, what is going on with those strategies, especially trying to forgive yourself? The answer will not come from forgiveness but CONFESSION (see "Freedom from Real and False Guilt”). Trying to forgive yourself is not only flawed by putting yourself above others but also by not understanding both Real and False guilt in your life. Most likely, you suffer from false guilt. (You can get more on that in this course.)

On the other hand, when others are guilty, you…

  • Seek Revenge – Plot, try to, or get even
  • Carry Baggage – Drag the problem into other relationships
  • Draft Others – Enlist others to join the “cause” against the “jerk.”
  • Become a Victim – “Poor me,” everyone needs to rescue me
  • Hold grudges – Become bitter and resent the person

Those strategies lead to an unpleasant life. The essence of resentment, grudges, and bitterness is summed up in the great statement – “Bitterness is like drinking a bottle of poison and hoping the other person dies!”

So true! Those strategies link you to the person and the wrong done to you. It allows the wrong done to you or the wrong you did to others to control your life and happiness.

God Wants You FREE!

It is time to determine if you believe that God's way is the right way. If you believe Him and confess the sin you don't want to remember; you are clean. That is not my opinion; that is from God's Word.

Please search the scriptures and see God set people free (Galatians 5:1). God does not put shackles on you. He is a God of redemption. He wants you free from your past behavior, and confessing and forgiveness are the two ways to do that.

PURSUING THEIR BEST - Freedom in Relationships

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