- With all the people I’ve hurt, and what I could have done differently, I’ll never be able to forgive myself
- If I went away and my mother died, I would never be able to forgive myself
- Only after I forgave myself did my recovery start
- I know God has forgiven me, but I just can’t forgive myself
WHY CAN’T WE FORGIVE OURSELVES?
- We’re used to working for what we get, deserving what we’re given
- We’re disappointed with what we’ve done – unfulfilled expectations, repenting and then sinning over again
- Regrets over the damage we’ve done and the good we might have done
- Thinking that we deserve the torture we’re feeling over our regrets
HOW WOULD WE FORGIVE OURSELVES?
- Try to forget we did it or didn’t do it
- Deny that we did it or didn’t do it
- Convince ourselves it wasn’t important
- Convince ourselves that we were right to do it or not to do it
- Force ourselves to feel forgiven
- On what authority do we forgive ourselves or know for sure we’re forgiven?
CAN WE FORGIVE OURSELVES?
- No Bible passage commands us to forgive ourselves, but it is not forbidden
- No Bible story illustrates the principle
- Great preachers never preached about it
- A relatively recent concept derived from pop psychology
- A secular substitute for God’s forgiveness that has made its way into Christianity
LEVELS OF GUILT
- Conscience – the voice inside that tells us we’re doing wrong – can be seared
- Conviction – produced by the Holy Spirit compelling us to choose between our sin and the Saviour
- Condemnation – Satan digs up the sins we’ve tried to bury, reminds us of them, accuses us of them, and convinces us that we don’t deserve to be forgiven
GUILT IS SOMETIMES GOOD
- If we’ve done something wrong, we need to be forgiven
- 1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
- We can know we are forgiven on the authority of God’s promises
- God’s grace cannot be deserved
GUILT IS SOMETIMES BAD
- When we have sought God’s forgiveness but don’t feel forgiven
- Romans 8:1 – there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus
- We punish ourselves by replaying our sins
- We never know where we stand with God
- Why should God answer our prayers?
- Driven to work off feelings of guilt
- “I could never forgive myself”
- None of us can predict the future
- It is not a sin to make the best decision based on available information
- It is fearfulness not to do something because you couldn’t forgive yourself
- False guilt is failure to achieve a standard we have set for ourselves
WHO IS OUR SIN AGAINST?
- Godless secularists try to persuade clients that their sin is against themselves
- Psalm 51:4 – Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight
- Not “against myself only have I sinned”
- Mark 2:7 – Who can forgive sins but God alone?
DEAL RIGHTLY WITH OUR SIN
- If we could forgive ourselves, who would need God?
- The inability to forgive ourselves means that we have a higher standard of sin than God has – we’re playing God!
- Trying to forgive ourselves means that we don’t truly understand the breadth and completeness of God’s forgiveness
- Jesus died to forgive all our sin
UNDERSTAND GOD’S FORGIVENESS
- Understand the holiness of God
- All sin is the same size in God’s sight
- We are never beyond God’s forgiveness as long as we are repentant
- Romans 8:2 – through Christ Jesus, the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death