Forgiving yourself for something you did – to yourself or others – is as easy as 1-2-3:
Step #1: Be honest with yourself and repent.
Before you can forgive yourself, you have to get real and admit what went wrong. Take a personal inventory of the situation. Be completely honest about your part, and avoid pointing fingers. A heart of true repentance says, “I messed up and I am willing to change”. This is the hardest step in the process. King David got honest about his sin and wrote about it in a song:
Psalm 51:2-3 (NLT)Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night.
Step #2: Be honest with others and ask for forgiveness.
Before you forgive yourself for your wrongs, you’ll need to clear the air with anyone else who may have been affected by your words or actions. Did you sin against God? Confess it to him. Did you sin against a friend or family member? Swallow your pride and go to them. You’ve already been honest with yourself, so now you can humble yourself and be honest with others. And here’s the good news: Even if others can’t find it in their hearts to forgive you, God has already done it.
1 John 1:9 (NLT) But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.
Step #3: Forgive yourself.
So here’s the plain truth: if you’ve completed steps 1 and 2 above, you’re entitled to Step 3. God’s word over you is “Forgiven”. Hear that word and trust it. Stop beating yourself up and just believe what God has already said about you. And every time your own heart tries to shame you again with that past guilt, forgive yourself. Make an active habit of it until the truth of forgiveness moves from your head to your heart.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- Is it easier for you to forgive yourself or others? Why?
- Share a time when you forgave someone for a wrong they did to you. How did it affect them?
- Explain repentance. Have you done it? Explain.
- Read Psalm 51. Circle the words or phrases that jump out to you. Can you relate to David’s feelings? Explain.
- Read 1 John 1:9. Does God’s forgiveness of you make it easier for you to forgive yourself? Why or why not?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.