“I can’t forgive myself”

when-you-mess-upSome days you are going to mess up.

Big time.

To the point that you won’t be able to look at yourself in the mirror.

To the point that you’ll be walking around with a cloud of disappointment over your head.

To the point that you will wonder if you’ll ever be able to forgive yourself.

You do things you promised yourself you’d never do.

You compromise on your beliefs, in your faith, with your holiness.

You choose to follow your own plans over what God calls you to do.

And in the end you find yourself broken, discouraged, and confused.

Because you disappointed not only yourself once again, but also Jesus.

You’re not the only one who has ever felt that way.

There are many great men from the Bible who have been in the same shoes you may find yourself in today.

And it is by looking into their lives that we can learn a few important lessons.

Who are these men you might ask?

Lets begin with David.

Man after God’s own heart. Surrendered to his lust and was charged with both adultery and murder. (2 Samuel 11)

How about Peter? Jesus’ most outspoken friend who promised Him he’d do anything for Him.

Denied Him three times during His greatest time of need.  (John 18: 15-27)

Jonah, God’s chosen prophet to bring hope of forgiveness to Nineveh. He didn’t agree with God’s plan so he chose to run away.  (Jonah 1:1-3)

Samson, called to deliver God’s people from the hands of their enemy didn’t take his oath and purpose in life too seriously when he allowed Delilah to cut his hair. (Judges 16)

Moses, the man God chose to help set His people free from slavery was too frustrated at the people to obey God’s word so he struck the rock instead of speaking to it like God asked him to.  (Numbers 20: 9-11)

Here you go… a list of how some of the greatest men of faith failed.

Failed to obey God.

Chose their own desires over His.

Ended up disappointing God and themselves.

You can add your name to the bottom of that list.

So can I.

But you know what I love about each one of these stories?

That they didn’t just end there.

They didn’t end in defeat and condemnation.

No, they ended in a much better way: with repentance, with surrender, with forgiveness.

These men messed up.

Big time.

But they didn’t let that sin be the end of them.

They didn’t hold on to the baggage and condemnation that came with the mistakes they made.

They didn’t settle with living in depression and discouragement for letting their Almighty God down.

No, they chose another way.

And so can you.

They brought their faults before God.

They asked Him for grace.

They got up and tried again.

This doesn’t mean they didn’t have to pay the consequences for their sin.

They did.

Moses couldn’t enter the Promised Land.

Samson became blind at the hands of the Philistines.

David lost his newborn son.

And sometimes your sin will come with consequences too that you’ll have to deal with.

But you don’t have to deal with resentment and condemnation of yourself.

If you asked God for forgiveness of your sins you should not feel condemnation.

Condemnation comes from our enemy who is always trying to point out our shortcomings, our failures, and our faults.

Conviction, on the other hand is godly sorrow given by the Holy Spirit to bring you to repentance. (Romans 2:4)

Conviction is the right thing to feel after you have failed because it will bring you the right place: the foot of the cross.

Condemnation is the wrong thing to feel after you have already repented because you are harboring un-forgiveness for yourself after God already freed you from your sin.

It questions whether God really forgave you and it makes it impossible for you to live with yourself.

I remember one time when I was a little girl I did something that I felt really convicted about and I asked God for forgiveness right away.

But night after night when I knelt to pray the heaviness of what I did hung over my head and I felt more condemned and unrighteous with each passing day.

I felt like that sin I committed would forever be there to remind me of what a disappointment I was to God.

At how I could never recover from it and become the holy person Jesus called me to be.

And it took hearing from a pastor about the difference between condemnation and conviction for me to realize that the sin I committed should no longer have power over me after I had repented and Christ has set me free.

The enemy was using something against me that he had no authority to use.

And I wasn’t going to buy into his lies anymore.

From that moment on any time that condemnation came I would declare God’s power over my life and that His blood has cleansed me and set me free.

With Christ’s help I stood my ground and held on to the forgiveness and freedom He had given me.

And you know what? It didn’t happen right away… but after a few days that cloud over my head disappeared.

The enemy didn’t come to point his finger at my past sin once again.

Because he knew that I wasn’t only set free, but I finally believed it.

I declared it.

I lived by it.

And you can do the same thing today.

If God has forgiven you maybe it’s time for you to forgive yourself?

You don’t need to live in shame, guilt, and condemnation anymore.

You don’t need to beat yourself up for something God freed you from long ago.

Maybe you failed as a parent, as a friend, as a believer, or as a leader.

Maybe the thought of what you did brings new tears to your eyes, condemnation in your mind, and despair for the days to come.

But you don’t have to live in that condemnation.

Jesus came to die on a cross and forgive you for it.

Just like He forgave David, Moses, Jonah, Samson, and Peter.

He came to give you a fresh new start with Him.

To help you live in righteousness with His help.

Stop looking at your faults and start looking at the bloodstained cross where your sin was washed away.

Don’t let the enemy have a stronghold in your life.

We all mess up sometimes. But it’s up to us to live in freedom instead of condemnation every day.

Choose Christ.

Choose Freedom.

Choose Forgiveness.

Choose to live life a new way.

Be blessed!  -Anna… ♥

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” -1 John 1:9

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ideal-me2failmirror2Image creator unknown. Please respond if you know the author so credit can be given.


25 thoughts on ““I can’t forgive myself”

  1. Even when we say “no” to God in our hearts or close ourselves to Him when He may genuinely be at work presenting us with possibilities and new opportunities then we should still forgive ourselves. Only we know when we close our hearts. It is not His way that we should live in condemnation. We all fail Him in this. However, at some point if we truly choose to go deeper with Him and treat Him as Lord and Master then we have to go beyond the fluffy language that we can be guilty of such “oh dear, I failed Him again…..but never mind…He still loves me”. This is immature Christianity which is rife in the west and chronically the case in the USA where a self empowerment Gospel colours everything. It’s a big pond of a place but utterly shallow in its culture, including its church culture which has allowed itself to open its doors to the prevailing dictates if the day. Our identity in Christ is not a self empowerment mantra which empowers me to use God to get what I want. This is a self advancement Gospel that is preached these days and the middle class, Republican voting, bigoted, comfortable church folk lap it up because they seek a cultural Christianity that suits them. People choose the Christianity they want.

    What are we forgiving ourselves for though? This is where conviction and condemnation separate. Which is the author? God does and will convict us. Condemnation is of the enemy but if we wilfully ignore conviction it’s more serious. If He asks us to do something or is leading us in a new direction, if someone’s witness has challenged or provoked us to deeper levels with Him, then we are responsible for choosing our response. This was the case when Jesus walked the earth. Folks turned and carried on their lives. Even His closest disciples ran. We should be seeking to be the ones who will not run. They ran because the challenges got too hard. In the end He asked them if they could drink the cup that He had to drink but He did so rhetorically because He knew the answer. The church is saying “no” to the narrow path that Jesus spoke of. In churches, on blogs, on tv, in Christian magazines…the majority are choosing the broad path.

    It’s like these written words; folks either take them in or ignore them and go back to life as usual. Most choose are ultimately choosing a Christianity that is based in a shallow and selective view of what Jesus actually said. Most are wilfully choosing a Gospel that basically, at its core, says He exists to prosper my life and advance me. Continually forgive me, give me a strong and secure identity, promote me at work, give me a healthy and happy life etc. Now I wonder why that sits so well with American church folk?


  2. Amen. Such an important topic as so many people carry around guilt. It’s like someone told me once: ‘God forgave you for everything but you’re saying you can’t? Who are you to say you hold a higher standard than God?’ I never forgot that. We will all fall short but through the Cross we are FORGIVEN and FREE to live our lives thanks to Christ’s mercy. Thanks for this post, it’s really pertinent to so many things in life. Have a good day!


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