I have met with many women over the years of individual counseling and discipleship who tell me that while they know God has forgiven them they don't feel forgiven.
This is a snare of the thought life. It is critical to understand that even though we are completely forgiven, we will not always feel forgiven, and we may not completely forget the sin and the events surrounding the sin.
Now I know that I said in my previous post that we are to "remember no more" our past sin, and that is absolutely true. We are not to dwell on who or what we were in our lives before Christ or even the sin we committed yesterday and repented of because God doesn't.
Honestly, there are some events in a persons life, some sin they have committed that made such an impact on them that while they have accepted the forgiveness of God there is little or no feelings of having been forgiven, no comfort, no joy.
There are things I was involved in prior to my regeneration by Christ Jesus that were that way for me. I knew God had forgiven me. I knew He threw even those things as far away as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12) and I still struggled with feeling I was forgiven at times. This led to the next natural step of thinking that maybe I had to "forgive myself."
The idea of forgiving yourself is a psychological concept that has no place in the Bible or in the life of a Christian because it is completely false. The Bible never tells us to forgive ourselves. In fact, to think you have the ability to forgive yourself is totally contrary to the gospel!
So what do you do if you are a person who struggles with feeling unforgiven?
Begin by telling yourself theological truth and that comes with a whole truckload of Scripture. I have listed only a few of the hundreds of passages for you that talk about your forgiveness and why. I encourage you to look them all up (and more!) for yourself and remind yourself daily of their truths.
- Romans 5:6
- Romans 5:8
- Romans 4:9
- Romans 4:15
- 1 Corinthians 15:3
- Acts 20:23
- Acts 26:18
- 1 Corinthians 6:11
- Hebrews 10:10
- Hebrews 10:14
- John 3:17-21
- John 10:9
- Acts 2:21
- Acts 4:12
- Acts 16:31
You must begin to live as though these things are true about you, because when a person is in Christ they are true about you- no exceptions. You need to learn to "think saved" because you are. When those doubts come into your mind, you must answer them with Truth because Truth is the only weapon at your disposal. (See Ephesians 6:10-18). It is acceptable to acknowledge that that was once a part of your life, but not to be held hostage by it.
If you have frequent issues with feeling unforgiven you will need to consistently remind yourself of the truth. When I realized that I had believed the line about forgiving myself I had to take the same steps of learning what the Bible says about me as a Believer and then when those thoughts would come up I would remind myself that while the event I felt unforgiven the reality was that Jesus had died for that sin and it has been forgiven.
Something else to think of is that just because you remember a situation the way you do doesn't mean that's the way it happened! Can you say you are 100% correct about your memory? Especially if it is an event that took place years ago!
Cast aside the lie of forgiving yourself, and begin to walk in the truth!