Psalm 51:3 “For
I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.”
We probably don’t dwell constantly on the things we’ve done wrong.
It hurts too much to go there. However, let trouble come into our
lives, and we start replaying every single thing we’ve ever said or
done that we shouldn’t have. It becomes a litany of, “Why did I?”
“If only I hadn’t” or even “It’s because of me that this has come
into my life.” And we find ourselves battered by our own memories
and asking ourselves, “How can I forgive myself for what I’ve done?”
Forgiving myself. What does that mean and what does it entail? When
it comes to people you and I need to forgive, we may have a list as
long as our arm. Most of us do. But are you on that list? Because
you should be…both because you need forgiveness and because you must
forgive yourself at some point if you’re going to live in peace and
joy and victory.
I probably don’t need to convince you that you’ve made mistakes and
wrong choices or even that you have sinned against God. You almost
certainly have a list in your head of all the things you’ve done
wrong. And frankly, if you and I don’t see ourselves as sinners
needing forgiveness or broken people in need of healing, we’re lying
There are two parts to forgiving ourselves for the things we have
done. The first is seeking God’s forgiveness, and that’s the easier
1 John 1:9 tells us if we’re willing to confess our sins,
“God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us
from all unrighteousness.” It’s not complicated. We do or did
something wrong, God convicts our heart, we confess it, and God
The second part is forgiving ourselves. That part’s not as easy, is
it? And yet it’s the foundation of your being willing to forgive
anyone else. But you don’t know what I did…you don’t know who I
hurt…you don’t know how awful it was. And you’re right. I don’t know
the people you’ve hurt or what you did. But I do know what God did.
He “laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah
53:6). If God is willing to forgive us, why can’t we forgive
When we’re looking back on decisions we made or the stupid,
impulsive things we did, it helps to remind ourselves we didn’t have
the tools then that we have today. We did the best we could with
what we had at the time. We couldn’t give what we did not have.
We’re wiser today, stronger, more capable and with more coping
skills. We have more to give.
But what I did was unforgivable! Was it? Was it really? Picture your
precious child, your best friend, or someone else…those people you
love most in this world. Now imagine one or some of those people
standing before you, broken and weeping, truly sorry for what they
did, doing their best to keep it from happening again, and seeking
Would you forgive them, or would you tell them what they had done
was unforgivable? You know you wouldn’t be that harsh and cruel to
someone you love. So, why won’t you apply that same kindness and
love to your own mistakes? Can you try being gentle with yourself,
knowing you did the best you could with what you had at the time?
Like King David, you may say, “my sin is ever before me.” That’s not
necessarily a bad thing. Remembering what he did and the terrible
price his sin cost him kept David from making the same mistake
He learned from his mistakes, and so should we. But remembering what
we’ve done doesn’t mean we continue beating ourselves up for it. If
you have sought the Lord’s forgiveness, maybe it’s time to forgive
yourself and let it go.
Challenge for Today: What might happen if we, just for today,
stop beating ourselves up for things we’ve done that can’t be