Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Monday, October 29, 2007

I Just Can't Forgive Myself

Recently we received an order for How to be Free from Bitterness. With the order was a relayed request for including in a future edition an essay on “I just can’t forgive myself.” I cannot now guarantee such a teaching in the booklet but I will attempt to give a short one here.

First, to my knowledge the Bible does not speak of the need or of the “how” if there was such a need to forgive oneself.

What does it speak of?

“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” 1 John 1:5

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7

“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

Verse 5 speaks of absolute light.

Verse 7 speaks of walking in that absolute light with two results:

1. fellowship with one another
2. continued purifying from all sin by the blood of Christ

Verse 9 speaks of the faithfulness of God in:

1. forgiveness of our sins
2. purifying from all unrighteousness

What are our responsibilities?

1. Walk in the light
2. Confess our sins

What are the results?

1. Fellowship
2. purifying from all sin
3. Forgiveness of our sins
4. purifying from all unrighteousness

The above is true! That is why forgiving ourselves is not mentioned.

1. All sin is a violation of God’s holiness
2. Sin is never against ourselves. It is against God.
3. We are the sinners, not the ones sinned against.
4. We are the confessors. We are not the forgivers. To think that is true we have believed the lie of the devil.
5. To not forgive ourselves makes us senior to God. Who do we think we are?
6. To think we have the prerogative to forgive or not forgive ourselves is a great sin against God.
7. The thought itself is a sin against God.
8. Even if it were our responsibility to forgive ourselves it should be by grace.
9. “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10

There are two types of sorrow:

1. Godly sorrow
2. Worldly sorrow

The first leaves “no regret.”

The second leads to death.

If you are not forgiving yourself it means you have regret which means your sorrow is not godly, which means you have not been forgiven by God either.

To say you know God has forgiven you but you “cannot forgive yourself” is also saying that God has not forgiven you because you have worldly sorrow.

Thank God for His forgiveness and rejoice in that forgiveness. That is godly sorrow.

One last word, it is not that “you cannot forgive yourself”, it is that you will not forgive yourself.

Do not look on “not forgiving yourself’ as some sort of virtue. It is an awful sin.

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