Forgive Yourself? How Will You Do That?
Have your heard someone say, "I just can't forgive myself?" It is a very popular concept nowadays, but there is something that we need to think about. How will you forgive yourself? Which part of you forgives the other part?
We believe that forgiveness and confession are the cure for almost all relationship problems. We all have been wronged, and we all have wronged others. In relationships, we all have sinned toward others and we all have been sinned against. So, that makes guilt a big problem for everyone.
When guilt is present, people end up trying a number of unhealthy strategies. 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 can’t forgive myself!”
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9
All of those strategies are flawed and will not provide healing, especially that last strategy “self-forgive." It has apparently gained popularity, but it is a trap. For example, consider the statement “I know that others, even God, have forgiven me, but I 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 in regards to others and God?
See the problem? Others and God have forgiven you, but your opinion is their forgiveness was somehow ineffective or they actually lied. If you can forgive yourself, then everything will be alright.
When you will not accept forgiveness from others and God, you decide to hang on to your guilt. You have decided that you are the ultimate decision maker on when forgiveness is or is not effective in your life.
Puts ME Above God
The worst part about trying to forgive yourself is you place yourself above other people and even God! That means you are calling 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
Actually, you are saying “I know that God created the Universe, but He really can’t deal with what I have done.” Some people say that is not what they are thinking. They say they are thinking something like, “I just feel so bad that I did it that I just can’t get it out of my mind.” It really doesn't matter how you word it, it still comes back to putting yourself in a higher position than God.
Not Self-forgiveness - It's About Understanding Confession
So, what is going on with all of those strategies, especially trying to forgive yourself? The answer will not come from forgiveness – it comes from CONFESSION (see "Freedom from Real and False Guilt”). Trying to forgive yourself is not only flawed from putting yourself above others, but also from not understanding both Real and False guilt in your life. Most likely you are suffering from false guilt. (You can get more on that in the above 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 a very unpleasant life. The essence of resentment, grudges, and bitterness is summed up in a great statement – “Bitterness is like drinking a bottle of poison and hoping the other person dies!”
So true! All of those strategies link you to the person and the wrong done to you.
It is time to determine if you believe that God's way is the right way. If you believe Him and you have confessed the sin you don't want to remember, then you are clean. That is not based on my opinion, it is based on God's Word.
Please search the scriptures and see that God is about setting people free. He is a God of redemption. He wants you free from your past behavior and confession and forgiveness are the two ways to do just that.
GR8 Relationships—Pursuing the BEST in work, in life, in love.
Right Thinking—Right Relationships—Right NOW!!