How can I learn to forgive myself of my past sins?
answered by: Lauren R. | CO, USA
It’s important to note that Scripture never mentions the concept of “forgiving yourself.” However, it does reveal our need for God’s forgiveness and how the death and resurrection of Jesus made that forgiveness available to us.
To believe that you need forgiveness from yourself — in addition to God’s — suggests that the forgiveness He extends to you is somehow lacking or insufficient. Nothing could be further from the truth. When you go to Him in true repentance, He stands ready to pardon AND forget your sin. Micah 7:19 proclaims that, “He will tread our iniquities underfoot,” and “cast all our sins into the depths of the sea” (ESV). Another Scripture tells us that He will forgive our sins and remember them no more. (See Hebrews 8:12.)
When the enemy tries to condemn you with reminders of your past sin, remember how God views your past sin … completely forgiven and forgotten through the shed blood of Jesus. You no longer bear the burden and penalty of that sin. Instead of meditating on past failures, memorize and recite Scriptures like 1 John 1:9 which says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (ESV).
The all-sufficient grace and forgiveness of God is fully available to you, so walk in it, dear sister!
answered by: Sarah G. | CO, USA
It sounds as if you are feeling the enormous weight of forgiveness that is meant to be carried by Christ. Don’t worry, you definitely aren’t the first. The Psalmist felt the same thing. Hear his heart, “If You, LORD, should mark iniquities … who could stand?” (Ps. 130:3, emphasis added). I envision a dirty piece of paper filled with the tally marks of my own unrighteousness. But look what he declares in the very next breath: “But there is forgiveness with You, that You may be feared” (Ps. 130:4, emphasis added). The answer to your question is found in asking a new question: Based upon the Word of God, where is forgiveness found?
The stunning reality is that no one can stand before His perfection. And if we can’t stand before Him, how on earth can we muster up the power to forgive ourselves? The emphasis is not on us, but on Jesus; not on our merit, but on His grace. He did His job flawlessly; yours is to spend your days marveling at His finished work. There is such joy found in shifting our focus from paying penance, to loving and serving the One who paid in full 2,000 years ago. Do you feel the weight dissolving before the riches of His glorious grace? I pray so.
You asked a good question, one you will need to continue studying beyond our answers for you today. Here are the freeing truths that sprang to mind as I prayed for you: Psalm 3:3, 24:3-4, 8-9; Romans 5:11, 20-21; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14.