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Forgive yourself- why you might not forgive yourself and what can be some of the consequences?
Why you might not be able to forgive yourself
Whatever happened in your life, or whatever you did, there is hope for you if you put your trust in the perfect sacrifice of Jesus. Make sure you read my posts about forgiveness and where I share that no one can forgive (not even yourself) without the help of Jesus!
People, most likely, will not forgive themselves because they feel very disappointed with themselves and think they reached the point where they cannot be forgiven anymore. Not even by God! Do you realize how sad and ridiculous this sounds from God’s point of view? The person who cannot forgive himself has a very small ‘God’: a ‘God’ who is unable to forgive ‘big sins’, only ‘small sins’. And they believe if they commit ‘small sins’ God is able to forgive them easily. Needless to say, this is a strange and false theology.
Therefore, because you are disappointed in yourself, you start believing that God is also disappointed in you. However, nobody can disappoint God because He always knows what’s going to happen before it occurs.
Others cannot forgive themselves because they believe that somehow they need to earn their forgiveness. For them, because of their pride, it is hard to accept God’s grace. But, as I said in my previous posts, nobody can earn God’s forgiveness. Your forgiveness and mine was earned by Jesus, at the cross.
More reasons why you might not forgive yourself
I know one of the main snares of the enemy in the lives of those battling pornography is that they know they will fall again repeating the same sin. A person caught in the pornography bondage may think something like that: I know God can forgive me. Moreover, I know He already forgave me. But the reason for which I cannot forgive myself is that I know I will watch pornography again.These thoughts create so many problems.
Maybe you can relate to the above example. However, maybe in your case it is not about the sin of pornography but something else, like gluttony or gambling. I want to encourage you to renounce these thoughts and talk to Jesus about them. Bring them to the cross and lay them down before Jesus. And just forgive yourself! Accept the fact you are forgiven when you come to Jesus in repentance and accept His grace. When you repent you enjoy God’s grace, so, live your life free from condemnation. In Romans 8:1 (TLV) we read
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Messiah Yeshua.
For others, a reason for not forgiving themselves is because they have been living defeated by sin, mistake, or just life, for such a long time. Therefore, they cannot accept the fact they can be free from the burdens of guilt, shame and self-condemnation. For them, freedom is something too good to be true.
The consequences if you do not forgive yourself
First, if you fail to forgive yourself, often you will end up beating and punishing yourself continually. How can one do that? You remind yourself constantly of your sins. This is one of the most favourite ways Satan uses to keep you in this sinful cycle. You remind yourself of the tormenting feelings of guilt and shame and put yourself in a position God never intended for you.
Second, you will live in insecurity. In other words, if you do not accept God’s forgiveness you live your life under a question mark. And you will continue to carry the burden of your sin when the only One who is able to carry that burden is Jesus. Therefore, if you do not forgive yourself you live in a state of insecurity and feel insecure in your relationship with the Lord. There is only one way to come out of that dark, thick cloud of insecurity— to forgive yourself.
Third, you will experience the feeling that you do not deserve anything good, that you are not worthy. Satan will make you remember the things for which God already forgave you! And you will continue to walk into the cycle of guilt and shame and unworthiness. Moreover, this feeling of unworthiness will affect your prayer life, your ministry, and your relationship with God. You somehow dismiss the possibility that God can use you, for His Kingdom and glory!
Forth, you adopt a restrictive behaviour. You start telling yourself how unworthy you are and how you cannot do or accept the good things of life. Indeed, you restrict yourself from the things God wants you to enjoy because you do not believe you are permitted such good things. However, you need to know that you will not be more holy or more forgiven if you behave like that. God’s forgiveness is about accepting the grace of the sacrifice of Jesus for your life. You will not earn your forgiveness like this because you cannot earn it in any other way! If Jesus paid the price why do you think you need to add something to His sacrifice? Do you not believe His sacrifice is enough?
Fifth, you may go the other way into some of the excessive behaviours. You will try to find comfort in drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, money. Or you get involved in many activities— work, or Church activities. You would do anything but to spend time alone with the Lord and yourself, listening to the real problem inside your heart. Or you might try to please God and somehow ‘redeem’ your mistake and sin. You do that because deep down inside of you, you do not believe His sacrifice will suffice in your situation.
A sixth consequence can be a false spirit of humility. You find it hard to accept a good word for what you do or what you did. And you put on the mask of false humility because of the guilt and shame you feel.
In my previous post I explained the meaning of the expression ‘forgive yourself’ and presented some steps to freedom from unforgiveness. If you want to be free from the bondage of unforgiveness make sure you first pray, ask God’s help, and then forgive others and yourself. In my next post I will write about the meaning of the expression ‘forgive God’.
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In the meantime, make sure you read this amazing book by Nancy L. DeMoss