Stop Forgiving Yourself: You can't anyway...

"You've got to learn to forgive yourself..."

Or so the mantra goes.

Such advice sounds spiritual, wise, and even like something Jesus commands us to do.

But the Scriptures knows nothing about this strange high-minded concept called "forgiving yourself."  Indeed, such a concept defies common sense.  You can no more forgive yourself than you can owe yourself $20.  You might be able to move money from your left pocket to your right pocket, or switch money around in bank accounts, but that's about as fancy as we can get with such a thing. 

You in no way owe anything to yourself. You aren't your own creditor.

But in spite of such compelling logic, some of us may find that there is just something we've done in our past that hangs heavily around our neck.  Something stupid we did once upon a time that continues to haunt us, and something that we feel is holding us back.  And we want to escape such feelings of guilt, regret, and shame.

Such feelings as you may be genuinely experiencing aren't uncommon.  I've felt them too.

But I've learned a couple things over the years.  Namely that "forgiving myself" will do nothing to cure my problems.  Rather, I believe such internal issues are rooted primarily in one or two different things:

First, such feelings are often rooted in pride.  It's a form of self-absorption at the end of the day.  The past is the past, and as much as I might have to learn to own the consequences of my mistakes and/or my sins, continually replaying them over and over again in my mind and thinking about "what I did..." and "how I've ruined my life" isn't going to get me anywhere in life.  And the only way out of that vicious cycle is to let go of your pride and to learn to walk in humility instead.  Stop thinking about what you've done to you, and start thinking about what Jesus has done for you.  What He's done for you is infinitely greater than anything you've done to yourself.

Second, such feelings may come as a result of sins I've yet to confess to God and genuinely repent of in my life.  If I've yet to "take it to the cross and leave it there" then I'm allowing those sins to continually fester in my heart and mind and to deprive me of the life Jesus Christ has for me.  The Bible says if we confess our sins to the Lord, He is faithful and just to forgive us of all that we've done, because of what Jesus Christ has done on the cross.  All that remains after that is to walk in the forgiveness that God has lavished on us through His Son, and to enjoy the richness of His grace and mercy towards us that is demonstrated in our daily lives.

So, stop this trying to forgive yourself of stuff.  You can't do it anyway, no matter what mental gymnastics you play.  Get over yourself already and get on to Jesus.

Take it all to Him.  No matter what you've done, He'll take it all from you.  He alone can carry the weight of those things that you were never designed to carry. 

Jesus Christ alone died to take away the sins of the world.  Will you let Him take them away from you?  Or are you going to keep holding on?

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