Stop Saying “I Can’t Forgive Myself”


“How do I forgive myself?”

What I did was too bad. My sin was just too big and I can’t forgive myself.”

Oh, girl. I get you, I really do. I’ve said that exact phrase so many times I’ve lost count. It wasn’t until a couple years ago that my eyes were opened and I finally understood.

The bottom line is this: I can’t find any where in the bible that tells me I have to forgive myself. More over, it doesn’t even make sense. In order to forgive there has to be an offender and a victim. By saying “I can’t forgive myself,” you’re basically calling yourself an offender and a victim. Isn’t that ironic?

So, why do you feel like you can’t forgive yourself?

1.) You feel your sin is too great. (Where sin increased, grace was greater. Romans 5:20)

2.) You can’t let go of what you’ve done. (Forget the past, He is doing a new thing!
Isaiah 43:18-19)

3.) You feel like you are’t good enough. (Oh friend, you were bought with a price!
1 Corinthians 6:20)

4.) You allow shame to protect you. (Because of Jesus, shame has no power over you!
Hebrews 12:2)

But can we talk about the real issue?

The issue of Grace.

I recently asked this question on the Fiercely His facebook page: 

What is your definition of grace?

Although there were many responses, there was one over-arching theme. Grace is getting something that you do not deserve.

I’ve been studying Grace a lot lately. I’ve been listening to as many podcasts as possible, reading as many books as I can, and searching the word grace online and it’s synonyms every time I get a chance.

(And speaking of podcasts, I was delighted to be a guest on the Happy Playces podcast where I shared my story. If you missed it you can click here!)

Here’s what I’ve found regarding grace.

Grace is a gift. A gift that’s freely earned and freely given.

Have you ever received a gift from someone but didn’t want to open it up? No? Neither have I, because the reality is, we all love receiving gifts. It makes us feel loved and considered.

And isn’t that just like grace?

His grace is all we need and it’s more than sufficient.

How Do I Forgive Myself?

When you feel you can’t forgive yourself.

When we sin, think we aren’t worthy of grace. We want to “earn our way,” so-to-speak. But here’s the thing:

we can’t control grace.
We can’t put grace it in a box.
We can’t navigate grace.
And most of all, we can’t outrun grace. 

So, if you’re struggling to forgive yourself, perhaps what you’re really doing is struggling to accept grace. And when you can’t accept grace, you’re basically saying that the cross, and how Christ died for you isn’t enough and that it means nothing. And my friend, I just don’t believe you really feel that way. So, what’s left then? Nothing, except to accept His grace!

Your sin is not greater than God’s grace.

So stop saying, “I can’t forgive myself.” Because no, you can’t. It’s not even possible. But you can accept His grace. You can lift your head, rise up, and accept His grace. Girl, my hands are holding your face, I’m looking square in your eyes, and I’m telling you- ACCEPT HIS GRACE.

Here are things you can do to accept grace:

  • Love God authentically for who He is, not for what he has or hasn’t done.
  • Join a bible study group. This has encouraged me dramatically over the years.
  • Listen to worship music while you’re cleaning, in your car, exercising, etc.
  • Strategically set aside time to read the bible and do a devotion. I do mine in the morning when my house is quiet.
  • Cry out to Him and tell Him thank you!
  • Realize that Jesus IS grace, always has been and always will be.

Grace is greater than your mistake, it’s greater than your circumstance, it’s greater than your hurt, and it’s greater than your weakness.

You don’t have to look for grace because it’s already found you.

You don't have to look for grace because it's already found you. #fiercelyhis #grace Click To Tweet

When we come to the end of ourselves and fully rely on Christ, we gain life. We gain life because we’ve lost it. Grace becomes real, and the gospel message starts to make sense.

Not one of us deserves His grace. And as much as I try to argue that away, nothing can take away from the fact that He bore a horrendous death because of me and because of you. The scandal of our sin was replaced by the scandal of the cross. He meets us at the bottom, right where we’re at and pulls us out of the ditch.

The scandal of our sin was replaced by the scandal of the cross. #fiercelyhis #grace Click To Tweet

Accept His grace, friend. It’s his gift to you, and I imagine it has a beautiful bow on it with your name beautifully hand-written on the tag.

His grace is a gift, and your name has been beautifully hand-written on the tag. #fiercelyhis #grace Click To Tweet

Before I go, have you heard about my FREE Fight for Your Calling 5-day email challenge? You have a calling, friend! Find out more here.

Are you, or have you ever had a hard time forgiving yourself? Could it be that you haven’t accepted HIs grace? Leave your thoughts in the comments!


  1. Deb Wolf says:

    Wow, Shannon, this is so powerful! Filled with truth and I have to admit I’ve never stopped to think about it this way before. This is a must read and for most of us, a must reread! Thanks, Girl! You bless me!

  2. Melanie Redd says:

    What a good word. Love this line, “Your sin is not greater than God’s grace.”

  3. Krisanna says:

    As I struggle with this often; this was the perfect reminder of how we are saved: by his grace, through our faith. We can’t earn his grace. Thanks for putting this in a way that I can wrap my mind around. This is a beautiful explanation.

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