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What does the Bible say about forgiving yourself?

Sometimes the guilt and shame of past sin lingers in our hearts and minds. Yet God doesn’t want us to hold unforgiveness against ourselves. No matter what we have done, God’s love and forgiveness is bigger. No matter what our sins, God will forgive us. 1 John 1:8-9 says, "If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Jesus paid the penalty for all of our sins—past, present, and future. This means that no sin is too great for God to forgive. Since God has forgiven you, you are allowed to forgive yourself too. It is common to feel bad about sins in the past but please know that God has already forgiven you. Healing from past sins is going to be extremely difficult as long we're holding onto that guilt and shame. Every new day is an opportunity to try doing your best, and with the Holy Spirit’s help, you CAN do this.

God Forgives All Who Ask

No matter what you have done, there is forgiveness from God. There is no such thing as a sin “too big” for God to forgive when a person comes before Him and asks. Ephesians 4:32 says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” This means we are to forgive others, but we must also forgive ourselves. God loves us more than we could ever love ourselves. If God offers His love and forgiveness, we know we are allowed to give love and forgiveness to ourselves too.

When we ask for God’s forgiveness after we have sinned, He forgives—period (1 John 1:9). To dwell on the sin or feel lingering guilt or shame is to allow that past sin to keep hurting us. In order to heal from that hurt, rather than focusing on the sin, we can direct our attention to our gratitude for God's forgiveness and our determination to move forward toward something better (2 Corinthians 12:9; Philippians 4:8).

Choose forgiveness for all—including you!

If you have accepted salvation through Jesus Christ, remember that your sins have been completely forgiven by God. Jesus already did the work required; He died on the cross so all of humanity could receive the gift of forgiveness from God (John 3:16-17). If you had been the only person in the history of the world who ever sinned, He would still have died for you. Jesus loves you THAT much! His love is everlasting and can never be shaken (Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:9).

We know it can be hard to move past the shame and guilt of past sins. It may take some time to forgive yourself, and that's OK. Healing takes time. God has forgiven you and would love for you to forgive yourself in your heart too. No matter what your past holds, God loves you and forgives you. We pray that you will find the space in your heart to love and forgive yourself in time.

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TL;DR

The Bible says to forgive others as God has forgiven us (Ephesians 4:32). Since God has already granted forgiveness, we are allowed to forgive ourselves too. Maybe you believe what you've done is too bad for God to forgive, but this is not true (2 Corinthians 12:9). God’s forgiveness is greater than anything, and His love has no bounds. If you're having trouble forgiving yourself today, that's OK. Healing takes time. God has forgiven you and would love for you to forgive yourself in your heart too. No matter what your past holds, God loves you and He forgives you. We pray that you will find the space in your heart to love and forgive yourself in time.

By: Vivian Bricker

Vivian loves learning, studying the Word of God, and helping others in their walk with Christ. She is dedicated to helping people learn more about Jesus and is ready to help in any way she can. Her favorite things to do are spending time with her family and friends, cooking, drawing, and spending time outside. When she is not writing, you can find her soaking up the sunshine or going on an adventure.

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