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What does it mean to forgive yourself?

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A while back during Sunday School one morning the topic of forgiveness was being discussed. Various aspects were being bantered back and forth and one thing that has kind of stuck with me in that I haven't really come to grips with the concept. That being forgiving yourself.


It should always be understood that God makes the laws and ultimately when we sin we are sinning against Him and should always repent and ask His forgiveness. And arguably it is possible to sin against another human being, which requires us to also repent and ask forgiveness of the individual(s) we may have sinned against. But is it possible to sin against ourselves? Or is it something else that is going on?


If we have sinned against God, we have repented of our transgression(s), and asked for forgiveness is it a moot point to consider that we should also forgive ourselves? Or what is really going on is that we either haven't accepted God's forgiveness (if that is possible) or we haven't truly repented of our transgressions.



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Hi Brother, the only thing I am aware of along these lines would be the sin of not believing God at His word. As a young Christian, I remember asking God to forgive me, over and over again sometimes, for things that I'd confessed and had already been forgiven of. Sin stings, and even though I knew what God's word said, that I'd been forgiven by God and that He was done with it (i.e. 1 John 1:9; Psalm 103:12), apparently I wasn't :( It was like I wanted to punish myself and not move on (when I didn't "feel" forgiven), but I believe that, "moving on", so that we can return to the field ready for battle, is a big part of being forgiven. IOW, He picks us up out of the muck and the mire we get ourselves into, then cleans us up and puts us back on our feet (so that we can get back to the business He created us, i.e. Ephesians 2:10, for when He made us into completely "new creatures" in His Son .. i.e. John 3:3; 2 Corinthians 5:17).


So I guess there is a "sense" in which we need to forgive ourselves, but what that really means is this, we need to take God at His word and move on (both to honor and glorify Him, as well to get back to the business at hand). How wonderful it must be for Satan when he is able to tie us up in knots and keep us from returning to the battlefield by convincing us that since we don't "feel" forgiven yet, we really aren't forgiven (even though God has made it clear to us that we are .. 1 John 1:9).


Of course, Satan has been trying to convince us that God is a liar (and that we shouldn't trust Him) since the beginning, hasn't he .. Genesis 3:1-5. You'd think we'd know better by now.


Some things never change I guess :(


Fortunately for us, one of the things that also never changes is God's great love for and patience with His elect, His children .. i.e. John 3:16; 2 Peter 3:9 :)


Yours and His,


Edited by David Lee

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Being forgiven by God, by grace should indeed be enough but sadly, it isn't for most people. I say "Most" because even though we are forgiven we have a vast array of memories that are tied to that sin and laying that sin at the feet of Jesus Christ and walking away from it is nearly impossible without following the necessary steps layed out in the scriptures.


James 5:16 says to "Confess your faults one to another". The word faults also translates as "sin" so it is those sins that are committed against another person which should be confessed, and to the person to whom you have transgressed against.

On the opposing side of that we have Matt. 6:15 when Jesus explained that if we forgive not then God will not forgive us.


The Holy Spirit convicts each and every one of us concerning our trespasses and until we make the effort to be forgiven, whilst also allowing others to forgive us,


All that said, there is still the issue of people beating themselves up over things they did prior to becoming a bonafide child of God for which there is no one to ask other than God for forgiveness. Virtually ALL of my students throughout my entire ministry have suffered from such anxiety to which all we can say is, "let go, let God."

I have tried the argument on many occasions saying, "If God, our Father in heaven can forgive you, then you can certainly forgive yourself." It simply doesn't help a whole lot especially when the guilt is so deeply ingrained that it becomes part of the person. Though God has cleansed me, I still feel dirty and beneath a grace so wonderful.

Even in my own process in salvation, my past guilts along with the guilt of knowing that it was people such as myself who placed our Savior upon the cross. Aye, if it were not for the likes of me, His blood would have never had to be spilled.


There is one thing though that seems to bring a spark of renewal in some of these very [self] devastated people..........including myself.

II Cor. 5:17 tells us: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: Old things are passed away; behold all things are made new".

A new creation indeed! A brand new person, with all of the ear markings of a Christ like man or woman, wearing the full armor of God (6th chapter of Ephesians), and setting the sights on a new life with new Godly goals.

Once an alcoholic, doper, theif, adulterer, or whatever.......all passed and a thing forgotten by God.

That old person is gone forever, and I cannot forgive him for what he did. But Now, I am a new creation, behold, I am made new!


God Bless.........Bobby


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