Can’t Forgive Yourself?

A free gift for you today: Since it’s garden-planting time, I have posted a free Bible study on my website entitled Digging Up Dirt: Cultivating the Seed of Forgiveness. As you’re pulling weeds outside this week, consider how the weed of unforgiveness chokes the life out of us.

I am THE worst at reflecting on past failures and bashing, kicking, biting, pummeling myself for them. The memory comes, and I say, Stupid! I’m so stupid! How could I have done that? -reliving, with self-malice, what I did and the effect it had on others.

It makes my stomach hurt.

Can't forgive yourself? -christyfitzwater.com

How can we forgive ourselves? I’ve struggled with this question for years, knowing in my mind that God does not want me to live this wretched existence of regret, yet not knowing how to deal with it.

Well, God opened my eyes to the answer, and I will offer it to you for your own pondering. I wrote on this passage recently, but I must touch on it again from the perspective of forgiving ourselves.

James gives us the command (4:7 NIV) to “Submit yourselves, then, to God.” However, in the verse prior to this James describes God as a giver of abundant grace. (If A=B and B=C, than A=C.) If we are to submit to God, and God is a giver of grace, then to submit to God is to submit to grace.

The opposite of submission is rebellion.

I conclude that to call up our past failures and REFUSE grace is to live in rebellion against God.

James 4:6 says God opposes the proud, and it is the proud person who stands at the cross of Christ and refuses to bend a knee. Refuses to allow Jesus to take the weight of the sin.

I like things to be simple, and it is simple for me to understand the choice between rebellion and submission. I can picture the body language of both –one arms crossed and feet planted, unmoving –the other arms open and weak knees, prostrate.

I have decided I do not have the nerve to stand in front of the cross of Christ in pride. It horrifies me to think of chesting up to the Almighty God and refusing to bow to His grace, by holding onto my past failures. I can’t imagine saying to His face, “Your Son’s sacrifice wasn’t good enough to cover this failure. Thanks for trying, though.”


So forgiving ourselves is all about the cross and how we decide to approach it: Will we submit to grace?



  1. Debbie Otto says:

    Hi Christy,
    This is exactly what I tell ladies in post abortion ministry. Not forgiving self is saying “Jesus’: incarnation, crucificion, resurrection & exaltation might not cover that one”. As humans, we default to the measurable. We’ve done what seems “the worst”. It feels wrong to forgive such a hard thing. Not forgiving ANY SIN doesn’t come close to the amazing grace that can & does cover ALL of our sin.
    I love this and I love grace.

    1. It really is coming to a complete understanding of exactly what took place at the cross.

  2. I really like this post on forgiving ourselves and how it is pride to refuse the grace of Almighty God. The language is strong, and it needs to be. Thank you for sharing this is such a clear, logical and emotional way. Because understanding who God is requires our minds and our emotions. I have done things in my life that I thought were unforgiveable but have found that God’s grace is more than enough to wash me clean. And I choose not to wallow in the pain of my past. It only tears me down, cripples my ability to walk in the path the Lord makes for me every day. I have learned through the shame and failures of my past to have compassion for others and to allow grace where there is none. God is truly magnificent, and Jesus’ sacrifice for us is incomprehensible. Praise God, we can accept by faith that it was once for all.

    1. I love what you’ve said -that Jesus’ sacrifice for us is incomprehensible. I think because it seems too good to be true, we often refuse to accept it. God willing, I will not refuse grace any longer!

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