February 26, 2013

Can You Forgive Yourself?

'Forgive yourself' is one of the catch phrases of today, but is this Biblical?

The Bible often talks about forgiving others but no where does it talk about forgiving ourselves.

"So watch yourselves. "If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him."  
                                                                                           Luke 17:3-4



I love Liz Curtis Higgs. She is such a grace filled woman of God and I love her books and teachings. She has such a heart for God. I recently read a post HERE about forgiveness on her blog, which really spoke to me and I thought I'd share about it here.

She starts with this:

"However noble it sounds, “Thou must forgiveth thyself” is

1) not in the Bible, 
2) not something God asks us to do, and 
3) not possible."

This is something I've struggled with understanding, as so many Christians talk about forgiving themselves. I find it a little bit confusing. Should I be forgiving myself when God has already forgiven me? Am I even capable of forgiving my own sins? When I read Liz's blog post on forgiveness it helped me understand the power of forgiveness which can only be given by God.

Liz says here:

"Only Jesus has the power to forgive sins. And his forgiveness is enough. Enough to cleanse us, heart and soul. Enough to set us free."

and here:

"Waste no energy on trying to forgive yourself, beloved. God’s grace is sufficient. God’s forgiveness is enough."

God's forgiveness is enough, His grace is sufficient.

I highly recommend you going to Liz's site and reading her whole post, where she shares the Biblical story of the paralyzed man who was lifted down from the roof of the house Jesus was speaking at. (Mark 2:1-12) A powerful story of God's forgiveness.

You can read the whole post here: Embrace Forgiveness

Lord,

Help us not to be deceived by worldly catch phrases that may led us away from Your truth. Help us believe your words, your promises and trust in You alone. We can rest in You.

Thank-you for your graceful servant Liz Curtis Higgs. I've learnt so much from her, most of all that I can come to You no matter what, You love beyond our understanding. Bless Liz Lord and continue to bless others through her.

I love You...thank-you for forgiving me, thank-you that Your grace is sufficient and Your forgiveness is enough.

15 comments:

  1. Oh, Cathy, what an important post. This is so true. It's easy to fall into repeating those catch phrases and falling into that mindset, but we are not called to forgive ourselves, we are called to forgive others. It is their forgiveness and God's we should focus on seeking. Thank you for writing this!

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  2. I think forgiving ourself falls in with the forgiving others as well. We should forgive others and we should forgive ourselves. But, yes it is God's forgiveness which is the most important.

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  3. Joanne says it beautifully, in His Word God does not call us to forgive ourselves, He calls us to forgive others.

    I remember reading a novel a few years ago where the main female character spend the last 1/3 of the book trying to get to a place of forgiving herself. I thought, how many women struggle to do this? God's forgiveness and grace are free and I think that is sometimes hard to grasp. We often feel we need to do something to receive it when the Scripture is clear that forgiveness and grace are gifts. (Ephesians 2:8 and Ephesians 1:7)

    I also read a book called "The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment" by Tim Challies a few years ago and I vaguely remember at the end of the book he talks about discerning this very thing. I highly recommend the book!

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  4. Hi Cathy, I love love love this post. I too have tried to forgive myself for stuff and the way you have it here, God's grace is sufficient, His forgiveness is sufficient. WOW, takes the pressure off trying to get it right, right? Great post and thank you for linking up. I will be going over to visit at Liz's now
    God bless
    Tracy

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    1. Hi Tracy, yes, it definitely takes the pressure off! I'm learning what it means to rest in Him. Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your visits. :)

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  5. ps: I am adding this to my list of favourites. I think it is a very valuable point you make :)
    God bless
    Tracy

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  6. Oh I love it :)You just saved me so much time and energy, thank you Cathy and Liz Curtis Higgs, I can now focus on others to a better capacity. Have a blessed day. Found this post at Women Living Well. Tara.

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    1. Tara, so glad this spoke to you! Have a wonderful day too!

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  7. Liz Curtis Higgs speaks to my heart so profoundly, and now in this new way...this is going on a bookmark at the top of my page to read over and over again.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Rachel! It's hard not to love Liz. Her blog posts right now are based on her book 'Embrace Grace' which is one of my all time favorites. I think you'd like it. :)

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  8. This was totally new to me, I'd never consider looking for a biblical backup to the concept of forgiving oneself. I will now add this "things I think about while reading the Bible" list. Thanks for this.

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    1. Hi Robert, what a great idea to have a list of things to think about while reading your Bible. Thanks for your comment. :)

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  9. Your approach is interesting that we don't need to forgive ourself? It is true that the accuser of the brethern comes to us and pulls sins from our past and would love to make us feel guilty. However when we realize that he is a liar, and those sins are forgiven already, and we are told in the scripture "There is NO Condemnation to those who walk in the Spirit and not after the flesh. I would hate to tell someone who feels guilt, to forget it and get a live, or get over it! How much better to tell them God has forgiven you, so now forgive yourself and go on for it is under the blood and God remembers it NO MORE>

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  10. Maybe it's less forgiving ourselves and more hanging onto guilt. If we can turn that loose and accept God's forgiveness, we begin to heal. Great post. (Visiting from Faith Filled Friday linkup.)

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Feel free to leave your own thoughts in the comments. I try to respond to all of them by the end of the week. : )

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