It's Monday, and that means Bible Study tonight! I am currently leading a group of 31 women through Beth Moore's "When Godly People Do Ungodly Things". It's a great study that teaches us how to avoid the schemes of the enemy in our lives (and much more, hard to summarize this study as it covers so much ground!). One thing in the lesson really stood out to me, and I plan on 'tweaking it' (my own technical term) to the group. She refers to the need to ask God to help us to 'forgive ourselves'. I know that she doesn't mean that how it sounds, and one of these days I need to write to Beth and express my opinion on this topic because I have heard her teach this concept before.
It simply is not biblical to try to 'forgive ourselves'. Nowhere in scripture does it say 'forgive yourself'. We are to accept God's forgiveness, and forgive others, but not forgive ourselves. To do so is to take the place of God on the throne, and try to do what He has already done for us as true believers! I don't think she means that, though....I truly believe she just chose poor language to say what she meant. For example, better language might be "I still have regrets", or "I still feel guilty", or "I keep beating myself up over that thing", even though you have God's forgiveness. If these are the case, then your problem is not that you need to forgive yourself......the problem is that you need to take the focus OFF OF SELF, and on to the cross, and repent of the sin of unbelief! It is unbelief because you are not believing that Christ's death on the cross WAS sufficient, and that you are forgiven completely.
Well, I could go on and on about this topic, because it is kinda a pet peeve of mine (no offense to Beth - I totally love her and her studies and other teachings have been life changing for me - I couldn't recommend them more strongly!). Just ask the ladies I minister to. ;) This 'self forgiveness' thing comes up fairly often and they've heard me say all this a zillion times by now. WHY?? Because it is THAT important! Our very faith is all about forgiveness, and we must have a clear understanding of it. When we don't have that clarity, we tend to say things like "If only I could forgive myself", when what we really mean is "we should stop disbelieving that we ARE forgiven (therefore, no need to forgive ourSELVES)".