"I know God has forgiven me. But I just can't forgive myself." These are the words Ronnie spoke to me immediately after hearing me speak on forgiveness. It was obvious Ronnie was carrying the weight of guilt from sin in his life. You could see it in his eyes, his posture. No joy. No peace. Only pain. He had carried this weight for years. The weight of self-condemnation. The weight of self-hatred. The weight of regret. The weight of shame.The weight of guilt.
Like Ronnie, many people carry the weight of sin throughout their lives. Day after day, they live with the regret, shame, and guilt of what they have done. Wave after wave of self-condemnation and self-hatred flood their minds. No matter how hard they try to escape the pain of their sin, they continue to carry the weight of it daily.
Maybe this is you. Like Ronnie, and many others, you have been carrying the weight of your sin for years. You are weighed down by guilt, self-hatred, and self-condemnation. You have tried many ways to escape the pain of your sin, but you continue to carrying it every day.
So how do you remove the weight of your sin? How do you release yourself from the guilt, shame, self-condemnation, and self-hatred you have been carrying for years? The answer is GRACE.
Grace is God's unconditional love, unmerited kindness, and unlimited forgiveness poured upon you abundantly through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:6-8; 2:1-9; 2 Timothy 1:9-10). Jesus took the weight and shame of your sin upon himself at the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21). The blood of Jesus paid your sin penalty in full. He paid for all of your sins (Romans 5:8). Through faith in Jesus, you receive complete forgiveness of all sin because of his grace (Romans 3:23-25; Colossians 2:13). God is not counting your sins against you. They were all counted against Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:19). You are FORGIVEN FOREVER.
By grace, through faith, you can now forgive yourself because God has forgiven you of all of your sins. Don't wait until you feel like forgiving yourself. By faith, not feelings, forgive yourself. Don't try to earn the right to forgive yourself or relieve yourself from guilt by good works. But, because of God's grace freely given to you in Christ (Romans 3:24; Ephesians 1:6), freely give yourself the same grace by faith that God has given you freely.
Faith is receiving God's grace, his forgiveness, and then extending that same grace to yourself.
Like Ronnie, and many others, you have carried the weight of your sin long enough. You have carried your regret, shame, guilt, self-hatred, and self-condemnation long enough. By grace, through faith, you can now let it go and begin walking in the joy and peace of forgiveness. Below is a prayer to help you release the guilt of your sin and replace it with the grace of God.
God, I feel so much shame, guilt, self-hatred, and self-condemnation because of my sin. I thank you that you have forgiven me fully and forever because of your grace freely given to me in Jesus. This grace is the shed blood of Jesus poured out for me for the forgiveness of all my sins. I now choose, by faith, to forgive myself. I choose to pour out upon myself the same grace that you have so abundantly poured out upon me. Today, right now, I forgive myself.
Now that you have forgiven yourself by grace through faith, it will be important to daily remind yourself that you have forgiven yourself. Your old habit patterns of guilt, shame, self-condemnation, and self-hatred will not immediately go away. But, as you daily remind yourself God has forgiven you and you have forgiven yourself, eventually, the thoughts of guilt, shame, self-condemnation, and self-hatred will decrease and the feelings of peace and joy that grace brings will increase. Then, the words "I just can't forgive myself" will have turned into "I have forgiven myself."