What does it mean to forgive yourself?
Do you really need to forgive yourself?
Does Scripture ever say anything about needing to forgive yourself?
Those are just a few of the things I've wondered at different times in my life. Usually in those times when I've done something I know I shouldn't have done and I'm trying to make myself pay for doing it. As futile as it is to beat yourself up over something, it is something I have done quite frequently - and still do.
Recently, I was listening to a song and was struck by a part of the chorus. The Line is from the song "Forgive Yourself" by Downhere and says: "Nothing ever frees you more than just believing that you've been forgiven." When I heard those words they stuck in my head and I found myself continuing to mull them over in the days to come. As I've thought about it more, I've started to realize that those words describe essentially what I think it means to forgive yourself.
No where in Scripture do we find anything that says we need to forgive ourselves for things. We're told to forgive others, but not told to forgive ourselves. But, that doesn't seem to really deal with the issue of what we do when we feel like we've done something "stupid" and should be punished for it.
That's where I think the words from the song portray a truth we need to hear. Usually when we feel so poorly about ourselves because of something we've done, the biggest issue is that we don't see how God could forgive us - how we could earn God's forgiveness. We feel completely unworthy of His forgiveness and subsequently struggle to accept His freely offered forgiveness. We'll confess what did, but we don't accept what is offered when we confess.
But, the truth is that we are set free when we begin to really believe we've been forgiven by God - not when we finally do enough to earn it. When we begin to make that reality a part of our thinking and our life, we find freedom. It's not so much that we need to forgive ourselves, but that we need to accept forgiveness that Jesus offers to us - even for the times we've done something really "stupid." God's forgiveness brings us freedom.