Over the years, helping men deal with anger, grudges, bitterness, rage, and hatred has always been an amazing experience, watching the Holy Spirit address past issues and lead guys to new freedom. Watching men forgive fathers, mothers, siblings, wives, ex-wives, children, bosses, and so on breaks the bondage of them “holding someone hostage” in their hearts. (The Knight’s Code, p. 132)
But the one person that all of us men struggle the most to forgive, and often can’t, is ourselves. Letting go of the past, getting rid of regrets, and stopping the beating and bleeding from “the condemnation club” often feels impossible to do.
After all, we can get away from all those other people, but we can never escape from self. He’s everywhere we go.
Here are three practical helps for forgiving yourself.
1—Accountability & Encouragement
Ask a brother in the Lord that you respect to hear you out on your story. Confess how you have struggled. Get out all the feelings of unworthiness and condemnation. Speak them out loud to him and God. Then ask him to pray for you and be available when the enemy, or your own heart, brings it back up to you. If each time you struggle, you have someone to talk to and can receive encouragement, there’s a good chance healing will come.
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. —James 5:16 NLT
2—Truth of Scripture
Nothing ushers out the lies and condemnation of the enemy like the Word of God. Find verses or passages that speak to you on forgiving yourself, receiving grace, and accepting freedom from guilt, shame, and the past. Write it down on a card, put it in the notes on your phone, or write it on your bathroom mirror. Place this truth where, anytime the lies show up, you can grab hold of the truth that Christ died to give you. Replace a lie with His truth.
So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law. —Galatians 5:1 NLT
3—A Final Goodbye
It’s time to have a funeral for the mistake or sin that you cannot forgive yourself for. Confess it, place it under the blood of Christ, and ask for forgiveness one final time. Make this one count because it’s going to be the last time you bring it up. Afterwards, say hello to freedom and forgiveness. You just did all that God Himself said you need to do to be free. Now, He promises to be faithful and just, and even forget what you did. So, isn’t it time you did?
How far has the Lord taken our sins from us? Farther than the distance from east to west! —Psalm 103:12 CEV