Obstacles to Forgiving Ourselves

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Do not willingly stay in chains. Forgive yourself. Christ gave His life to make you free!

Psalm 51:10-12

Every human being on earth has a sin problem. We all lose our temper, make mistakes, and do things that seem completely out of character. Sin is a universal problem, but God has provided forgiveness for everyone who will accept it. And yet, many believers find it impossible to forgive themselves. Why?

First, we struggle with self-forgiveness at times because we find it difficult to accept God’s forgiveness. Guilt can be so strong that it may seem to overshadow the enormous gift of pardon and restoration that our Father has freely provided. We may think, What I’ve done is just too terrible. I doubt God could ever forgive me for this. That’s a tragic error.

Second, personal disappointment can prevent us from forgiving ourselves. We often have ridiculously high self-imposed standards for our behavior and achievements. When we fail to live up to them, we are all but crippled by disappointment, which can make self-forgiveness seem impossible.

Third, seeing the results of our sin can become an obstacle. That is, if our wrong actions produce a tangible negative consequence, we may become so blinded by the outcome that we can’t forgive ourselves. Seeing the aftermath of our sin day after day keeps guilt alive in our minds, and we may simply refuse to let it go.

Are you harboring guilt and remorse for a sin from your past? God’s forgiveness is available now (1 John 1:9). Christ gave His life to make you free. So do not willingly stay in chains because you’re unwilling to forgive yourself for what God has already pardoned (Gal. 5:1).

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