That’s not a problem! I’ll tell you why below.
I cannot even remember how many times I have had a conversation with someone about their past failures and sins and they say, “I can’t forgive myself.” I didn’t always know how to answer that. Now I do know SPECIFICALLY what to say.
Before I tell you what I now say to people who “can’t forgive themselves,” be sure to click on this link to the Christian humor website, The Babylon Bee, and see their satirical answer to this. I Know God Forgives Me, But…
That’s not a bad response. In fact, I like it quite a bit.
Now I will add mine.
It is not a problem that you can’t forgive yourself because the Bible doesn’t tell you to forgive yourself. That’s not your job. That’s not your responsibility. Somewhere along the line, the devil has tricked us into thinking it is important for us to forgive ourselves. That just puts the focus RIGHT BACK ON ME! And isn’t that the problem in the first place?!?
In fact…give me a little grace and space to say this…
It is at least a little self-righteous to think that you are the one who is in charge of forgiving yourself.
Really, you can’t forgive yourself! Really, you think you had it in you NOT TO DO THE TERRIBLE THINGS YOU DID? You did those things because you are sinful. Sinners sin. If anything, you should be surprised that you haven’t done a whole lot more really bad stuff.
When you “can’t forgive yourself” that is your uninformed, and self-serving pride taking charge.
I’ll say it again. It is NOT YOUR JOB to forgive yourself. Forgiving you is God’s job.
Your job is to ask God for forgiveness. It is also your job to ask others for forgiveness. It is their job to forgive you. It is also your job to forgive others their sins against you.
Let me map this out just a bit. It is your job…
To sincerely repent from what you’ve done that was wrong.
To ask for forgiveness (from both God and the person who was wronged).
To receive their forgiveness.
To receive freedom from shame and guilt because the ones you have hurt have forgiven you.
To rejoice in their forgiveness.
To continue to amend your ways so you don’t hurt them again.
To receive daily grace (from God) that empowers you to amend your ways.
It is also your job:
To forgive others their sins against you!
All of this is what you are instructed to do in the Bible. This is what you can, by God’s grace do.
So don’t waste your time trying to do something that isn’t up to you. Do what God does tell you to do. I hope this makes spiritual sense for you.
The good news of Christianity is that God has forgiven you. And that is More Than Enough for all of us.