When you know you have been forgiven for all the sins you have asked forgiveness for why is it difficult for you to forgive yourself for some of them?

Shalom Sibling,

This is a good question.  There can be many different reasons why someone can’t forgive themselves even though they have repented.  Some of these might be:

  1. We are still having to deal with the consequences of our sins and that can keep them fresh in our minds.
  2. We might not really believe that the Father will forgive our sins if we can’t.
  3. Our minds are the adversary’s playground and if we don’t take our thoughts captive, we may not be able to let it go.

I want you to know that you are not alone in this.  There are many of us that struggle with this.  My best suggestion is when these thoughts come up, recognize them for what they are – lies. 

We need to start telling ourselves every single time this happens – these are lies and I KNOW the truth –  when we repent there is grace, mercy and forgiveness.  And then we need to take those thoughts captive and dwell on what is true.  This is not an easy task and it takes practice but it will get easier.

For many years I struggled with my negative thoughts running rampant, until I learned that most of what was going on in my head were lies that I was telling myself.  This is where my battlefield is and there are wins and losses but the better I get at recognizing the lies, taking my thoughts captive and then focusing on what is true the more battles I win.

You may find my article “Not Enough” useful in helping you to focus on what is true.  If you are interested in reading it, you can find it here.

I hope this helps.


From Matt:

You asked a mouthful when you asked this question!

I think part of the problem lies in the question itself.  Many times, we struggle with forgiving ourselves because we simply cannot accept the fact that the Father has forgiven us.  Like the prodigal son in Luke 15, we allow sin to carry us so far away from God that we wake up one day in the mud and the mess with the pigs.  In the midst of the mess, it’s hard to believe that forgiveness is available or that YHWH still loves us. (That’s exactly what the enemy wants us to believe!) We are repentant; we understand the actions that led us here, but we have not allowed ourselves to be restored.  We’re sorry for our actions, but we’re still sitting in the pig pen; however, when we come to ourselves, when reverent repentance and reconciliation become the motive for a return to the Father and He pours out His abundant grace, then it’s easier to put the past to rest.  

Second, I think we find it hard to forgive ourselves because we don’t understand the process of sanctification.  Too often we look at sin, repentance, and forgiveness as something that should only need to happen once.  Then, when that sin crops up in our lives again (you know the one…), we beat ourselves up over the fact that we are here, AGAIN, dealing with the same stuff.  We forget that some of the sin in our lives has been putting down roots for generations!  We also have to remember that YHWH is the original gardener and that He is really good at it.  He’s not going to uproot the entire vine for the sake of a single weed, but he IS going to get that weed.  So he pulls and tugs, trims and prunes until, finally, not only is the weed gone, but the root is as well.   The Father loves us too much to leave us like He found us!   We can’t beat ourselves up over the process.  

Finally, I think the problem is one of giants and grasshoppers.   When the Israelites sent 12 spies into Canaan in Num. 13, ten came back talking about the giants that were in the land and how they saw themselves; only two came back talking about the land and the God that had made them a promise.  The first ten said, “and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them,” the other two said, “we are well able to overcome it.”  What does that have to do with forgiving ourselves?  I’m glad you asked!  First, if you haven’t already read Aliisa’s article, “Not Enough,” do that now.  Then understand that the enemy’s greatest tool for defeating Christians is themselves.  If he can make us think less of ourselves, if he can convince us that we are “not enough” for what God has called us to, if he can beat us to death with our past and thus undermine the Father’s forgiveness by preventing us from forgiving ourselves, then our effectiveness for the kingdom is greatly diminished. We have forged our own chains.  

Siblings, keep always in mind 2 Cor. 3:17-18:  “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.   For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”


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About the Seeking Scripture Team: We are a group of believers from all walks of the faith, saved by grace alone through faith in our Messiah. While we are of one accord in many things, we are all works in progress and lifelong learners. Therefore the opinions of one may not always represent the opinions of all.