Q&A: Forgiving Myself

This weekend at Life Center Rainier we took some time at the end of each experience to do some live question and answer to wrap up our sermon series #Trending. I wish we had more time to get through all of the great questions that came in. Over the next few weeks, I will work to answer a few of these questions via my blog.

The message this past weekend focused on subjects and questions that people had that are trending in their minds. One of the questions that came in earlier in the week focused on the subject of forgiveness (you can watch the message here). As I talked about forgiveness and what scripture has to say about it, there were some additional text questions that came in about it. One specifically, that I didn’t have time to answer in the service was the following:

What does it mean if I can’t forgive myself but God already forgave me????

First off, this is an excellent question that many people (including myself) have asked, wondered and wrestled through. Thank you to the individual who asked this questions this weekend!

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What does it mean if I can’t forgive myself but God already forgave me????

Forgiveness is a big deal. It is the greatest need of humanity because of our sin and it’s consequences. Without it, there is no hope in being reconciled to God and finding confidence that we have been brought back into proper relationship with Him. The good news is that every person who has put their hope and trust in the work that Jesus has accomplished for them through His life, death and resurrection has been forgiven and brought back into right relationship with God. But at times, it is easy to lose sight of what this means practically, on a day-to-day level.

If God has forgiven you of your sin, failure, mistakes, rebellion, etc., it means that your eternity is secure – you ARE forgiven. You can’t be more ‘forgiven’ than forgiven. When we wrestle with forgiving ourselves, I believe it reveals a few different things that we have potentially forgotten or lost sight of.

Forgiveness is both FUTURE and PRESENT
The Gospel doesn’t just give us good news for our eternity, it gives us good news for today – and everyday until eternity. To know that I am forgiven for eternity, but being unwilling to embrace forgiveness for myself in the present is a disconnect. Romans 8:1 teaches us there is NO condemnation for those who are IN CHRIST. The key: when our sin is forgive, we are in Christ. That isn’t just for the future – it is for today and everyday. When you are at your worst, you are not outside the REACH of God’s grace. When you are at your best, you are not outside the NEED of His grace.

I believe it, but…
For the person who truly believes the Gospel, there is no room for “but…”. This is why, as followers of Jesus, it is vital that we preach the Gospel to ourselves everyday. We lose sight of it’s power and it’s reality. When that happens it is easy for us to ‘believe’, with a list of qualifiers. There will be times where you doubt. This is where we have to remind ourselves that we live by faith and not just by feelings. Hebrews 11:1 reminds us that “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

What is greater: Your SIN or your SAVIOR?
Before you write this off as cliche, understand the implications of this question. If our sin is too big to forgive ourselves for, what does that say about the strength of our Savior? The times that I have wrestled with this in my own life, it is due to the fact that I spent far to much time dwelling on the significance of my sin, instead of focusing my heart and mind on the strength and beauty of my Savior, Jesus.

Ultimately when we find ourselves unable to forgive ourselves I believe it is because at some level we have lost sight of what the Gospel truly declares. I am forgiven, not because of what I have done, but because of what Jesus has done for me – and my trust in that work. The only way to receive grace is empty handed. If we think that carrying guilt or unforgiveness toward ourselves and our past somehow shows God how sorry and guilty we are for our sin, we have missed the point of what Jesus came to accomplish for us.

What are your thoughts? I’d love for you to add your comments in the section below!


Next time I will tackle the following question:
“Why is it that the old self, the old you is still present after you have been saved? Constant battle. Why?”

  1. Thank you so much for your sermon last weekend. I just had to tell you what a difference it made I my friend’s life. I have been speaking to her about forgiving herself for quite a while now. Your words spoke to her heart and I can’t express what an immediate difference it made.

    Bless you Pastor Tyler for your servant’s heart and for allowing Holy Spirit to use you in such a mighty way.

  2. oh this is such an important fact to understand…it has taken me 20 plus years to find this truth..in Christ we are forgiven for past present and future sins..if not then Jesus would have to come back and die over and over, but it is once for all time…there is so much freedom in knowing this, that my behavior good or bad does not separate me from the grace of God ..in 1977 the first scripture that God spoke to me was Rom. 8:1 and it has taken me this long to actually understand the truth of it..thank you Jesus for your FINISHED WORK..it was complete..and thank you Tyler for a submitted life to Jesus, 🙂

  3. Romans 8:1 is a great reminder that because of the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf I have no right to condemn myself for my past or future transgressions. His love for me was and is evident. Thanks Tyler for teaching on a very difficult subject. May all be free of the bondage of unforgivemess

  4. Such a great reminder, it’s so easy to forget the power of the Gospel and make our Grace subjective to our circumstances.

    Thank you for addressing this question.

  5. “You can’t be more ‘forgiven’ then forgiven.” I love that! You’re right, we need to preach this to ourselves every day. Thanks for the reminder Tyler!

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