Spiritual Practice

Can I Forgive Me?

Alina, Doug, Nakia & Heather

devozine Depressed Teen Girl TS 93347472Forgiving someone who has hurt you is difficult. But what if you are the one who has caused the pain, made the bad decisions, or disappointed family, friends, or God? Even if everyone else forgives you, how do you forgive yourself?



Confess Your Sin

I have sinned, God.
Please forgive me.
How can you forgive me?
What I did was horrible,
How could I be so stupid?
How could I make such a mistake?
Why did I think it was OK?

I cry out to you,
and you tell me, gently,
that you have forgiven me.
But how can I forgive myself?

How can I not?
God chose to forgive me.
Christ died
so that I could have
I forgive.

—Alina Kanaski, 21


Admit You Were Wrong

Sometimes the hardest words for us to say are “I was wrong.” Yet these can be life-giving words. The psalmist writes, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10, NRSV). Once we confess and God forgives us, then we must fully forgive ourselves, turn our back on our sin, and go forward.

—Doug Rose


See Yourself Through God’s Eyes

Not forgiving ourselves can lead to low self-esteem and self-hatred, which are not God’s will for us. Romans 3:23 (NRSV) says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Human beings fall, fail, and make mistakes. Yet, if we repent, God quickly and lovingly blots out our sins and remembers them no more. If God has forgiven us, we must forgive ourselves. Although the consequences of our sins may remain, we cannot punish ourselves for sins that God has forgiven. Sometimes we can only forgive by seeing ourselves through the eyes of God.

—Nakia Gater



Accept the Gift

When other people hurt me or make bad choices, I am usually able to forgive them. But forgiving myself is hard to do. I pray, confessing the mistakes I’ve made and promising to turn away from them. I ask for forgiveness from the people I’ve hurt, and I move forward—dragging my guilt and poor self-esteem behind me.

Scripture says when we confess our sins, we are forgiven; and in God’s eyes, we are cleansed of all our sins (1 John 1:9). God’s opinion is the only one that matters. If God is willing to forgive us and purify us, why shouldn’t we gladly accept God’s generous gift of grace and live our lives in the freedom of God’s mercy?

—Heather Burcham, 22

—from devozine (March/April 2013). Copyright © 2013 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.
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