Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"But I Can't Forgive Myself"

I often hear people say, “I have received God’s forgiveness, but I just can’t forgive myself.” There is a lot of pain behind a statement like that. This usually indicates the person has done something so bad that he/she continues to feel deep shame for it. In addition, some feel the need to punish themselves for their past sin by continuing to feel bad about it.

But is it biblical to forgive self? I don’t want to in any way be insensitive to the pain one who going through that makes such a statement, but there is no biblical support for forgiving self.

The real issue is, “Have we truly accepted God’s forgiveness?” If we have accepted God’s forgiveness, then there is no need to forgive self, because if God declares something forgiven and cleansed, then that is all that matters.

“Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” Acts 10:15

If you say, “I have received God’s forgiveness, but I can’t forgive myself”, then you are putting yourself above God and this is a subtle form of pride. If you say, “I can’t forgive myself,” you are saying your assessment of your sin and forgiveness is more important than God’s.

Furthermore, if you are trying to punish yourself for your past as some form of penance, you need to understand that Jesus bore the punishment of God for your sin, and His punishment is enough. He was punished for your sin, so that you would not have to be punished.

It is an offense to the cross to not forgive yourself for a sin Jesus died to pay for!

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isa. 53:5

Take this to heart: nowhere are we told to forgive self. The issue is accepting God’s forgiveness. It is what He says about our sin that matters, not what I say about my sin. If God declares it forgiven, then case closed!!!

The solution for our sin is the blood of Jesus. Jesus shed His blood so that we could be completely forgiven. Therefore, bring your sin to the cross and leave it there. To pick it back up is an insult to the sacrifice of Jesus!

Meditate on these truths, and allow the Holy Spirit to convict you of righteousness (e.g. that you are forgiven and stand in the righteous in Christ):

“God made Him who knew no sin, to become sin, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Cor. 5:21

“If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 Jn. 1:9

“Mercy triumphs over judgment.” Jas. 2:13

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Ps. 103:12

“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” Isa. 43:25

“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” Isa. 1:18

“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Hebr. 8:12

“Because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” Hebr. 10:14

“Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” Hebr. 10:17

“Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebr. 10:22

“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 Jn. 2:1-2