Friday, May 25, 2018

When You Can't Forgive Yourself

Do you have trouble forgiving yourself for a past wrong?

For years, I beat myself up for both major and minor infractions. Both sins of commission (when I actively did wrong) and sins of omission (when I didn’t do right things) haunted me.

I grew up in the church and knew the Bible well. Yet forgiving myself often felt impossible, especially for sins that changed the path of my life.

If you struggle with forgiving yourself, meditate on this portion of Psalm 103 with me. We’ll look at how to apply it to our lives after we read it through, slowly and thoughtfully.

Psalm 103:6-17a NLT

The Lord is merciful and gracious;
He is slow to get angry and full of unfailing love.
He will not constantly accuse us,
nor remain angry forever.
He has not punished us for all our sins,
nor does he deal with us as we deserve.
For his unfailing love toward those who fear him
is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
He has removed our rebellious acts
as far away as the east is from the west.
The Lord is like a father to his children,
tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
For he understands how weak we are;
he knows we are only dust.
Our days on earth are like grass;
like wildflowers, we bloom and die.
The wind blows, and we are gone—
as though we had never been here.
But the love of the Lord remains forever
with those who fear him.

If you struggle with forgiving yourself, meditate on this portion of Psalm 103 for healing.

How Psalm 103 Helps You Forgive Yourself

You can learn to forgive yourself by remembering these key points in Psalm 103.
God is slow to get angry.
You may be angry at yourself for sinning, but God isn’t, if you have turned to him in repentance. He is patient and kind, willing to forgive. His unfailing love covers your sin, because Jesus died for you.
God is not your accuser.
Do you sometimes hear accusing words in your heart or mind? They aren’t being spoken by God. The enemy tries to steal and destroy, keeping you mired in the past with accusations. The Bible calls him an accuser, but names God as your Deliverer.
God is not punishing you.
If you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you no longer live under sin’s condemnation. God’s unfailing love is far greater than the damages of your sin. You may have to live with the consequences of a bad decision, but they aren’t meant as punishment. They are natural results of living in a sinful world. God offers mercy, discipline, and grace instead of punishment to his followers.
God has removed your sins.
As far as the east is from the west, God has removed your sins from you. They no longer have power over you! Praise Jesus for his ultimate sacrifice which makes that removal possible. Choose to believe that since God has taken your sins that far away, you can do the same for yourself.
God sees you as a beloved daughter.
He offers tenderness and compassion to you because you are precious to him. You can call him your Daddy, because he loves you so much. Turn to him for comfort during your forgiveness process.
God knows your limitations.
Your sins are no surprise to God. He understands your sinful human nature, which will always be a part of you until your last day on earth. He knows your struggles. He also knows you won’t battle with them forever, because you are promised an eternal life free from sin when you believe in him.
God’s love reigns over your life.
If you learn nothing else from Psalm 103, remember that God’s love remains with you forever when you follow him.  Nothing else in your life will last forever, but God’s love for you will last that long. Basking in his love can help you love yourself the way God commands. 

The key to forgiving yourself? Learning to accept God’s love and forgiveness for yourself. As you remind yourself daily that you are forgiven by the Lord God Almighty, you will grow in grace and kindness toward yourself. One day, you’ll be able to lay your burden down for good.

Have a wonderful week!

Blessings and God's peace to you,

Photo from

Reflection questions:

  1. What place in your heart needs forgiveness the most?
  2. What can you do differently today to forgive yourself for a past wrong?


  1. Powerful, Sarah. Love Psalm 103, meditating on it just now caused me to reflect so much on God's forgiveness and how it goes hand-in-hand with His love and goodness. Love all the points you make, but especially that God is not my accuser. That really resonates with me. Since it's true, I can forgive myself. Thanks for this post!

    1. Thank you, Karen. I am glad my post helped you! Love your posts!

  2. Ah, the sins of omission. That's where I beat myself up. Shoulda, coulda. Thank you, Sarah, for your encouragement and for pointing us to Psalm 103! Oh how He loves us.

    1. I tend to beat myself up over those too, Alyson. Psalm 103 is changing the way I think about myself. Blessings to you!


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