At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, ‘Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?’ Jesus replied, ‘Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.’ ~ Matthew 18:21-22, MSG
There are several unbiblical and therefore purely secular topics that many people should stop teaching and/or preaching about, and one of those subjects is Forgiving Ourselves. Why? Well, the primary reason is because the Holy Bible doesn’t have any verses in which we can find God or Jesus the Christ saying/teaching that we should forgive ourselves.
For sure, the Word of God only instructs us about ALWAYS forgiving others (what Jesus the Christ’s seventy times seven symbolizes), and this teaching also declares that forgiveness must come from the one against whom we have sinned. Because when we sin, we are breaking God’s Laws, then first and foremost we are sinning against God, and, according to God, we must seek forgiveness for our sin(s) from Him. For this reason, when we sin against a friend, relative, enemy, and so forth, God also commands us to first seek forgiveness from that person (or those persons) against whom we have sinned, and then we can ask God to forgive us for breaking His moral Laws, such as lying, cheating, coveting, killing, stealing, and so forth (cf. Matthew 6:14-15; Luke 6:37b). In other words, when we sin against a person (or persons), we not only need to ask for forgiveness from both that person (or persons) AND God, but also that person we have sinned against has to forgive us or God won’t forgive him or her!
Now, if we truly thought about what some people really are teaching, when they tell us to forgive ourselves, we would understand that what they are teaching is craziness. Indeed, forgiving ourselves is an insane act, because we can’t forgive ourselves, for to forgive ourselves means that we ask ourselves to forgive ourselves for the sin(s) we have committed against ourselves!
Not only is forgiving ourselves craziness, but also it is us giving ourselves the God-only authority to pardon and/or dole out judgment for our sin(s). Without a doubt, if we could forgive ourselves, then that would be like telling ourselves that our sins were okay, or that what we did wasn’t all that bad; in essence, what we would be saying, if we had the power and authority to forgive ourselves, is that we don’t need a Power higher than ourselves to forgive us—that we don’t need God! Now, that really is preposterous!
On the other hand, most people who teach and/or preach forgiving ourselves wisely have stated that we need to find a way to get on with our lives—emotionally moving forward while simultaneously acknowledging our sins (the hurts, destructions, tragedies, sorrows, et cetera) that we are responsible for committing. In other words, what most of the people who teach/preach that we should forgive ourselves are really saying is that, when we sin, we need to be released from the guilt of what we have done. Being released from the guilt, however, is not in any way the same thing as us forgiving ourselves, because, once again, forgiving ourselves not only is unbiblical but also impossible.
That’s why being released from guilt has to do with us knowing if God has or has not forgiven us for our sin(s), and this “knowing” only can begin with us coming to an understanding about there being no sin that God is unable to forgive us for, other than the unpardonable sin of not accepting Jesus the Christ as our Lord and Savior. Moreover, for those of us who are in Christ, being released from guilt has to do with us understanding and accepting that there is no sin that the Lord’s blood is unable to cleanse. Put differently, we can release the guilt that keeps us from emotionally moving on with our lives by working through (coming to a healthy [sound, rational] understanding about) the forgiveness that comes from God via Jesus the Christ.
Finally, if, because of the sins we have committed, we are living with regrets and are feeling like we never will get out from under the heavy guilt boulder that emotionally has crushed us, then we need to reach out to God, right now! After we turn to God, we then will need to accept the forgiveness He offers us, by realizing that only a just God can and will forgive us, when we confess our sins to Him. Even though He absolutely knows the severity of what we have done, it is because of Jesus the Christ’s atoning sacrifice that God is willing to forgive us. Consequently, after we know, understand, and accept God’s forgiveness, then we can experience what it feels like to be released from our guilt, and live a regret-free life in Christ.