The woman wept as she said, “What I have done is so awful! I can accept that God has forgiven me, but I can never forgive myself.” Sadly, she was setting herself up for a lifetime of misery.
How do we forgive ourselves? Well, by first taking a look at God’s forgiveness. When we ask for His forgiveness, we may think God says, “What you did is not so bad—and besides, I love you so much; I won’t hold this sin against you.” But that’s just not true. Sin is bad and forgiveness was costly. Yes, God loves us deeply, but it took the death of Jesus on the cross to pay for our sin so we could be forgiven.
Likewise, many of us think that if we forgave ourselves, it would be like saying, “What I did is not so bad, so I won’t hold it against myself.” But we know it was bad, so we reason that we deserve to suffer.
My friend, Dr. Richard Smith, who counsels people with forgiveness issues, says that in his experience the people who have problems forgiving themselves don’t really understand that God has fully forgiven them. God no longer looks on us as sinners but as saints, the Biblical term for believers forgiven by Jesus Christ. And if that is the way God see us, what right do we have to see ourselves in any other way? In God’s eyes that sin no longer exists. Romans 4:8 says, “Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.”
Say, did you really hear that? Forgiven sin no longer exists. It’s blotted out—gone! You are wasting your time punishing yourself for it. More than that, you are dishonoring God, who paid the price for your forgiveness. It’s time to let it go! Time to forget what is behind, as Paul said, and press toward what is ahead (Phil. 3:13). Perhaps you want to settle that with God right now!
Did you release you not forgiving yourself to God? Give that worry and regret to Him!