By Barb Mulvey
So often in the counseling room I hear women tell me they can’t forgive themselves. In tears they condemn themselves for things that they have done. I would like to take some time to address that concept.
Point 1. There is no Biblical verse to support the idea that we must forgive ourselves.
The Bible tells us to ask God to forgive us. This is a vertical flow – we ask God to forgive us (1 John 1:9) and He does. Also Mark 11:25 says, “And when you stand praying (i.e.; talking to God), if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that you Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” ‘Forgive’ here is a command. So in prayer we hand our offenses over to Him, releasing our ‘right’ to revenge. Luke 17:3-4 talks about forgiving others – this is the outward/horizontal flow of forgiveness. There is no verse that tells us to forgive ourselves – an inward flow.
Point 2. It is a trick, a deception of Satan.
If Jesus paid for all sin on the cross, and I believe He did, then Jesus has already paid for that sin. Satan is tricking you into paying for it twice. You are beating yourself up, punishing yourself for something that is already paid for. If you paid off your mortgage and held the title in your hand, you would be celebrating. If the bank called and said, “No, you have to pay for it again,” you would not. Why are you paying for your sin twice?
Point 3. You are the small claims court; God is the Supreme Court.
If the Supreme Court declares you not guilty, (which it has) – whose verdict are you going to accept: the small claims court? or the Supreme Court? You can stay imprisoned by your own volition, but God has declared you not guilty (based on the blood of Christ).
Point 4. This is a statement of pride.
You are basically saying, “I just can’t believe I did that.” It is a statement of someone who doesn’t acknowledge that their sin nature is still alive and well. They think they are above sin. They are not. James tells us “we all stumble in many ways” 1 John 1:8 tells us “if we say we are without sin, we lie and the truth is not in us.” Basically you are saying ‘my standard of holiness is higher than God’s. He can forgive me BUT I can’t forgive myself.’ What you are really saying is ‘I have not received the forgiveness God has offered me.’ You see, just like love, God pours out forgiveness. The question is, have you received it? Has Satan tricked you into not receiving God’s forgiveness? We know in Matthew 18, the story of the unmerciful servant, that God forgave him lavishly when he asked. When we ask, God forgives. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
The real problem is a lack of faith.
Do you believe God forgives?
Or do you believe you have to ‘add’ your own punishment to Christ’s cross?
Will you walk in the wonder of the gift of forgiveness that Christ’s shed blood bought for you? God has forgiven you! All your sins - under the blood! You are purified of your unrighteousness! Open your heart and receive God’s forgiveness right now. Walk in His freedom today!