Become a member and gain unlimited access to content, courses, and webinars.
The Love & Respect



Unlimited Access To All Our Content

Inside The Love & Respect Membership

  • Love & Respect and 10 Week Study ($149 value)
  • 13 Online Courses With More Coming!
  • Access over 775+ Articles
  • Weekly Podcast - 145+ Episodes
  • Ask Emerson Videos - 60+
  • Collections - Curated Topics For You
  • Webinars Throughout The Year
and more to come...
Return to the homepage
Christian Life
Image duration icon
min read
Oops! Something went wrong.

Why Do I Struggle To Forgive Myself? [Video]

Play Arrow
Watch Intro Video

All of us do wrong. Who among us is perfect? When we fail God’s standard, some of us not only feel badly, we hate ourselves. We enter self-loathing. To cope, we self-medicate, indulge a lust, lie to ourselves about the wrong, or inflict pain on ourselves to pay for the sin.

However, the Apostle of love penned in 1 John 1:7,

"If we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light... the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin."

He then says in 1 John 1:9,

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Regardless of the past failures, as you confess these in the light, Jesus Christ is reliable and good. He will wipe clean any wrongs from your record.

Though there are earthly consequences to the things that you have done, from an eternal and judicial vantage point, it is as though you have never sinned in the eyes of God. The Bible in Hebrews 10:17 states,


When you come confessing, "Lord I have sinned again against you," it is as though He answers "Again? I don't remember the last time."

I do not intend to suggest God ceases to be omniscient. He will always know all things, but just as the court declares absolution of all wrongdoing for someone who is pronounced “not guilty,” so does God.

In the court, no one concludes that all memory of the past transgressions will now be removed from everybody's brain. People remember stuff! Instead, it means the court will not bring a penalty against the criminal. It will not be remembered legally. Like one who is not remembered in her wealthy aunt’s will, the aunt knew her niece, but legally did not remember her in the written documentation of the inheritance.

As for earthly consequences, though the bank robber may have lost a leg from the car chase and crash that killed three people, and he must always suffer the loss of that leg and his remorse, he will not incur a penalty for murder due to the driver of the getaway car taking full responsibility for the incident.

In a greater way, our Heavenly Judge absolves us from all wrongdoing in his record book. Yes, there may be earthly consequences but not eternal ones. We are forgiven now and forevermore.

It seems too good to be true, but it is true!

Jesus never intends to shame you. Instead, he purposes for you to begin again. Proverbs 24:16 says, "A righteous man falls seven times but rises again." The Lord forgives and expects you to stand up with your head up.

Your problem is not the view that Jesus Christ has of you. Your problem is your view of yourself and the lies of the diabolical one. You need to recognize that the accuser of the brethren is Satan, not Jesus (Revelation 12:10). As with Eve, Satan whispers, "Hath God said?"

Appropriating Christ's forgiveness by faith, while ignoring feelings of self-condemnation, is a tough row to hoe. Even so, each of us must remove the devil's-weed from our mental garden.

To counter this allegation, whether true or false, you need to forgive yourself as Christ forgives you. You need to be able to say to the indictment of the devil, "Satan, you don't know the half of it; even so I am forgiven. I am far worse than you could declare but acquitted forever and ever by the blood of Christ."

Many stumble right here. They find it difficult to forgive themselves because of what they've done, or supposedly so. For this reason a person must mentally discipline herself to focus on what Christ did for her!

We read in Colossians 2:13,14,

"You were once dead because of your failures and your uncircumcised corrupt nature. But God made you alive with Christ when he forgave all our failures. He did this by erasing the charges that were brought against us by the written laws God had established. He took the charges away by nailing them to the cross" (God's Word translation).

When a person argues, "Oh, I could never forgive myself," I firmly object with this comment, "If the son of God intends to forgive you, who do you think you are not to forgive yourself?" The Lord calls you to appropriate by faith, not by feelings, the forgiveness he has extended to you. He is God and you are not. He says he forgives all sin. Who are you to take issue with this?

This is not about what we have done, but what Christ has done.

We read in 2 Corinthians 5:21,

"He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."

In other words, all of our badness in God's eyes was put into Jesus, so to speak, and all of Christ's goodness was put into us in God's eyes. We refer to this as the imputation of Christ's righteousness to us. In the eyes of God, because of Christ going to the electric chair for our crimes, so to speak, we can no longer be accused and condemned by anyone, including ourselves and the devil. Romans 8:1 declares,

"Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."

Do you have an element of carnal pride that works against accepting the fact that you are a sinner who needs forgiveness and who needs to forgive herself? Do you actually think you are good enough and powerful enough to pay for your own sins by refusing to accept Christ's forgiveness and thereby forgiving yourself?

Again, there are natural and logical earthly consequences for our bad behavior. Forgiveness does not remove all consequences. One can jump out of a plane with no parachute as an act of suicide. On the way down, one can come to his senses and cry out, “Oh, God, forgive me.  Please forgive me. Please help me.”  The Lord will answer, “Oh, son, all is forgiven. My dear son, all is forgiven. Two hundred feet to go.”

Throw a dish at your boy that hits him in the head and leaves a scar, the scar remains along with the nightmarish memory. However, when we grasp what Christ did for us on the cross, we realize that our sinful acts will not be held against us at the Judgment. We are not minimizing the seriousness of sin, but rather exalting Christ’s immeasurable sacrifice for sin.

This is why we talk so much about grace and mercy. Grace is receiving something we don't deserve (i.e. the imputation of Christ's righteousness). Mercy is not receiving what we do deserve (i.e. condemnation for our unrighteousness).

Stop struggling with forgiving yourself! If you want to struggle, struggle with the wonders of being forgiven.

-Dr. E

Emerson Eggerichs, Ph.D.
Author, Speaker, Pastor

Questions to Consider