How to forgive yourself
I can’t even count the times I have wished to have a time machine… a time machine that would take me back so I could do things differently.
But there is no going back for you and I, so we need to learn to move on. I’ve done it so I know is possible.
In this post, I want to show how you can forgive yourself because when you don’t, guilt, shame, and condemnation will keep you stuck and it will rob you of your peace and your future.
When you can’t forgive yourself, you can’t experience the fullness of the love of God because forgiveness is one characteristic of God’s love.
Why is it hard to forgive yourself
One of the answers to this question is because you hold yourself to a higher standard than you do everyone else.
Have you notice that sometimes is easier to forgive others but not ourselves. Sometimes is easier to give grace and mercy to others, but we don’t do that with ourselves.
Another reason why it is so hard to forgive yourself is because the devil is always bringing up your past mistakes and sadly sometimes we pay more attention to what the devil says than to what God says.
The bible tells us in Revelations 12:10 that the devil is the accuser of the brethren. So he is always accusing you so you will remain stuck, not moving forward and keeping you from fulfilling the plan that God has for your life.
Is self-forgiveness possible?
For the children of God, all things are possible!
Are you a child of God? If your answer is yes, then yes, self-forgiveness is possible.
You have to understand that it’s ok to feel sorry. It’s ok to wish things were different. It’s ok to be broken-hearted for something that you have done.
Recognizing that you have made mistakes can make you better and stronger, but dwelling in your past and not forgiving yourself can also keep you chained up and unable to move forward.
Jesus came to set you free. Free from sin and death, but also came to set you free from your past. In Him all things are new, in Him you are a new creation in Christ, the old things are past.
Your past mistakes do not define who you are now. You don’t belong in the past because Jesus has set you free. You are who the word of God says you are.
You are chosen :
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.1 Peter 2:9
You are forgiven:
I, yes I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake and remembers your sins no more.Isaiah 43:25
You are loved:
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:39
How do I stop punishing myself for past mistakes
God created you to be an overcomer, and with His help you can overcome anything, your past, your present and your future.
It takes hard work to stop punishing yourself for past mistakes, the willingness to move forward while dealing with the consequences of your actions and learning from your mistakes without being stuck in them.
The following 5 steps are going to help you forgive yourself, just like God has already forgiven you.
5 Steps to forgive yourself
1. Ask for forgiveness
This one is the most important of all the steps.
First, you need to ask God for forgiveness if you have done something wrong. He should be first in your life, so you need to come to Him first.
Be honest, open your heart to Him, and tell Him everything that is in it. Nobody knows you better than Him, He knows you and how you feel.
Come to Him knowing that He is listening to you and He is ready to forgive you. In fact, He already has.
Second, you need to ask for forgiveness from the people that you have hurt or done wrong.
This apology needs to come from your heart and not just from your lips. Admit that you have messed up and say I’m sorry.
Whether they forgive you or not is out of your hands. That is between them and God.
If they do not forgive you, it’s ok. You did the right thing, which is to apologize. What you need to do next is to pray for them and move on.
2. Believe that you are forgiven
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.1 John 1:19 (ESV)
The word of God is simple, you either believe it or you don’t. God and His word are one, you either believe and trust in Him or you don’t.
You can’t say that you trust God and not believe in His word.
Guess what His word says?
He is faithful to forgive you.
It doesn’t matter how big your mistake was, or even if you think that what you did is unforgivable. When you repent, God forgives you.
And it has nothing to do with you, He forgives you because Jesus already paid the price for your mistake when He died on the cross for you.
His blood has the power to clean you from all unrighteousness.
Sin is real, and so is our guilt before God—and one of the worst things we can do is deny this or pretend it isn’t true. The Bible says, “There is no difference … for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:22-23).
But an even worse thing is to turn our backs on God’s offer of forgiveness and salvation! We can do this by denying it or refusing it, of course—but we also can do it by doubting God’s promise to forgive us when we truly repent and put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ. But God’s promise to forgive us is clear, and He does not lie. The Bible says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).Billy Graham
3. Know that it takes time
Wounds take time to heal. Some of them take longer than others. The same thing happens with forgiveness.
Be patient and trust God. God is your healer, the one who restores your soul.
The storms in life come and go, they don’t stay forever. So whatever you are going through, know that it will pass, it will heal, you will move forward. Trust God and trust the process.
4. Be careful with your thoughts
What I did is unforgivable.
How can God forgive and love someone like me.
I don’t deserve forgiveness.
My mistake will follow me for the rest of my life.
Thoughts like those and many others will pop in your head from time to time. Don’t dwell on them.
The bible tells you that you need to cast down any thoughts or imaginations that do not align with the word of God.
So, thoughts like the examples above go against what the word of God says because the bible tells you that you are forgiven, that you are worth it, that all things have passed away and all things are made new.
Don’t let thoughts like those pop in your head. Quit thinking about the past, quit living and meditating on the things that already happened. Is time to move on.
The Holy Spirit empowers you to change what you think.
Remember, you are who God says you are, and that is it. Those are the only thoughts that you should allow in your head.
This post contains affiliate links, for more info check out my disclosure page.
Several years ago, I read a book that I think would be a real help if you are struggling in this area. The Book is called Battlefield of the Mind, I highly recommended it, I think it will be a great blessing for you.
5. Don’t do it again
Learn from your mistakes and don’t do it again.
Don’t use your mistake against you, use it for growth, for God’s glory and to make yourself a better person.
Stay away from temptation and from anything or anybody that can cause you to fail again.
Instead, look for people, things and places that are a blessing for your life. Make positive changes in your life. Speak words of life over yourself and your situation.
A prayer to forgive yourself
Lord, I have failed you and I have failed people in my life.
I repent with all my heart and I want to ask you to please forgive me. Clean me Jesus with your precious blood and help me to be the person that you have called me to be.
I’m tired of feeling guilty, sorry and unforgiven.
I don’t want to be stuck in my past, I want to move forward Lord and I know that with your help all things are possible.
Help me forgive myself, heal my heart and make it new, change me.
Jesus, I believe in you, I believe in your word, and I thank you for paying the price so I can be forgiven.
I receive your forgiveness, and I choose to forgive myself, in Jesus’s Name. Amen.
You can stay stuck in your past if you want to, but that is not what God wants for you.
The inability to forgive yourself will keep you from fulfilling God’s purpose for your life and from experiencing the fullness of God’s love for you.
Trust God, trust His word, and trust the healing process.
Don’t be too hard on yourself, practice love, mercy and self-compassion. Keep your eyes on Jesus, don’t look back and keep moving forward.