I cannot remember the first time I heard the idea. I most likely have even encouraged people to do this type of forgiving. But, is forgiving ourselves actually a task we do? It sounds good for us “to forgive yourself.” But are we actually overstepping our boundaries in the work God has for us to do?
So far I have discovered that forgiveness comes from God. When we humble ourselves, pray, seek God’s face, and turn from our wicked ways, then God will hear forgive their sin (2 Chronicles 7:14). We are even blessed when we are forgiven, and this comes from the Lord who forgives our iniquity (Psalm 32:1-2, 5). God even goes so far as to forgive all of our sin/iniquity (Psalm 103:3).
When Jesus taught the disciples to pray, he instructed them to pray: “forgive our debts as we have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12). The scribes even questioned Jesus in their hearts by asking, “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Mark 2:7)
Paul even admonished the Ephesians to forgive one another as God has forgiven them (4:32). He even stated the same idea to the Colossians (2:13, 3:13).
God forgives us. We forgive those who hurt us. These two actions are tied together. We cannot expect to be forgiven by God if we do not forgive others. We cannot know how to forgive others unless we know that God forgives us.
Now, I am confident of this aspect of forgiveness. I am not confident about the aspect of me forgiving me. It seems that for me to forgive myself, in a sense I am justifying myself. When I continue to justify myself, then I could get to the point that nothing I do is a sin. This need of humbly turning to God becomes evident when I realize I could possibly attempt to negate any sin I have done.
Oh, it might make me feel good. I might think better of myself. I might even start to think I need not forgive others. For when I can freely forgive myself, then every other person can also forgive themselves. It could turn my thinking into being that I need not forgive anyone, nor ask forgiveness from anyone!
As a disciple of Jesus, I realize that I need forgiveness. This forgiveness can only come from God and from those whom I have wronged. I may have to wait upon others to forgive me, but the humbleness, the truthfulness, of confessing sin will be better for me in the long view of life. I cannot live my life without others and others cannot live their lives without me. God made us for more than taking care of ourselves, even forgiving ourselves, alone by oneself.
It sounds like I need to stop telling people, including myself, to forgive yourself. I am not God. Neither is anyone else around me God. There is only one God. He can and will forgive us. As disciples of Jesus, we forgive as we have been forgiven. I cannot forgive me. You cannot forgive you. I forgive you and your forgive me. This sounds like a healthy way to live life. Thank you, Jesus, for instructing us to forgive each other. Thank you, God, for forgiving us.