I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. -Paul, 1 Corinthians 4:3,4
Forgiveness is not something one offers to herself. By nature, forgiveness is a gift you give to another person. To forgive oneself is the one thing a person cannot do. Why? Because sin itself is an offense against another: God or one’s neighbor. It is only indirectly against the self.
Forgiveness must then be received.
Perhaps this is why one never reads in the Bible an admonition for self-forgiveness.
The questions that must be asked, when I choose to bathe in my own guilt are these: by what right do I have to refuse the gift God gives? Am I more just than God? Am I a better arbiter of good and evil than is God?
Isn’t this the nature of the first sin: to wish to be the one who determines what is good and what is evil–to be equal with God? Is the refusal to accept forgiveness then an act of pride?
Lord, help me to give up the whole idea of forgiving myself. The guilt I feel is from the evil one. You are the one who forgives. Give me the humility to accept your forgiveness and take me down from my throne as the arbiter of who receives or does not receive forgiveness! Forgive me for taking the role of judge and executioner.