How To Forgive Yourself : Here Are Four Keys
It is human tendency to be too easy on ourselves, justifying ourselves, and to be too hard on ourselves, condemning ourselves.
Paul tackles pride: we are all unjustified (Romans 3:23), and we have all been programmed to think too highly of ourselves (Romans 12:3). According to Jeremiah, while we might mislead ourselves about ourselves, only God can genuinely interpret our hearts (Jeremiah 17:9-10).
While pride is common, it is also possible to chastise and hold oneself in disdain even after God has forgiven our transgression (2 Corinthians 2:6-8). This is the plight of the sinner who cannot forgive himself/herself.
But John makes an incredible promise: If we confess our sins, he is true and just to forgive us and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
In this post, I’d want to discuss on how to forgive yourself of sin, as well as God’s compassion for the troubled soul that is hard on itself.
The love and compassion of God for us in Christ Jesus is the foundation for forgiving ourselves (Ephesians 4:32)! Everyone who believes in Jesus is free from condemnation (Romans 8:1) and free to love (Galatians 5:13). As sinners cleansed of their transgressions, we are to demonstrate God’s mercies (1 Timothy 1:15-16)!
The transformation that God causes in individuals who have accepted His mercy and compassion is to extend grace and kindness to oneself and others. Such tenderness is only possible because Jesus has set us free from the tyranny of sin, the tyranny of self-rule, and the oppression of evil (Galatians 5:1).
“If the Son sets you free, you are truly free,” Jesus stated (John 8:36)! To begin forgiving ourselves, we must first feel God’s forgiveness.
The Secrets to Forgiving Myself
1. Establishing Accountability
Sometimes we blame ourselves for our own pain when it is actually the fault of others. This is frequent in survivors of childhood abuse and other forms of childhood trauma.
While being mistreated, one may suffer self-disgust for being sensitive to trust, wanting for love, or even receiving some pleasure or affirmation. However, children are never held accountable for the actions of adults.
Because the trauma of childhood abuse has not been addressed and healed, many people have taken on excessive or false responsibility for most of their lives. They may struggle to define what they are and are not accountable for.
They may realize the need to express anger at a perpetrator through counseling because they project and move anger onto individuals who are not perpetrating but trigger memories of past abuse. Many people require compassion for their younger selves as well as integration of previously violated needs and longings.
If we wrongfully blame ourselves, we delay our healing because we avoid having to grieve and forgive the actions of others. It’s frightening to face our pain, so it appears easier to blame others for it. Clarifying responsibility for our pain can lead to self-compassion and self-forgiveness.
2. Rejecting Pride and Worldly Emotional pain Over Sin
“God can’t forgive me; I’m beyond grace,” pride claims. Sometimes an unwillingness to forgive oneself stems from pride: “I can win God’s mercy and favour and also from others”
The universal spiritual sickness that leads to spiritual death is self-justification (Romans 6:23). Self-condemnation also results in spiritual death, for godly sadness causes repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief results in death (2 Corinthians 7:10).
Renouncing both pride and worldly, self-condemning sadness over sin allows us to receive God’s pardon and grace, which serves as the foundation for self-forgiveness.
3. Seeking to Repair/Amend/Reconcile.
God’s forgiveness inspires us to seek repair, make reparations, and pursue reconciliation with those we have injured or who have hurt us.
When we, as adults, accept our responsibility and impact on others, ask for and experience forgiveness from others, and restore damaged relationships, our own experience of God’s love and forgiveness is deepened by the grace of the one I have wounded. When I experience God’s and others’ forgiveness, I am more willing to extend it to myself (Ephesians 4:32).
4. Courageous Love
The two greatest commandments, according to Jesus, are to love God and one’s neighbor. Because love is always costly, it exposes us to potential sorrow (due to sacrifice, unrequited love, misunderstanding) as well as deeper connections.
Sometimes our inability to forgive ourselves is reason for shielding ourselves from future grief. However, love and closeness are only possible when we are open to being harmed again.
Regardless of our own or others’ misdeeds against us in the past, we are always faced with the decision of how to live…now. Love is kind (not only to others, but also to oneself); love does not keep track of wrongs (not only of others, but also of oneself). (See 1 Corinthians 13:4-5.) Because our inability to forgive ourselves impedes our love for others, our love for others can help us forgive ourselves.
What Christian Counseling Can Do
If you are hard on yourself and struggle with forgiveness of self and others, Christian counseling can help to clarify responsibility, be a process in which understanding of the past is sought and gained, be a setting in which trauma is relieved and healed, and be a setting in which anger, grief, and forgiveness can be expressed and processed.
A biblical worldview counselor would encourage and utilize your trust in Jesus Christ to seek truth, humility, repentance, repair, and a brave loving lifestyle. If you are interested in these opportunities, please contact one of my colleagues or myself. More liberty awaits.
OTHER HELPFUL RESOURCES