3 Practical Reasons to Forgive Yourself




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Carl Thomas

Pastor | Live Free Founder | Lover of Jesus, Philly sports, fitness, tattoos, sarcasm, and craft beers.

Let’s be honest, when someone struggles with sexual integrity issues, porn addiction, masturbation, and the like normally they struggle with shame and the ability to forgive themselves.

A while back we posted this on Instagram & Facebook

It’s so funny that with Christians, we claim to serve a God who has unlimited forgiveness, yet we refuse to forgive ourselves.

On the surface, it sounds like humility, but in reality, it’s pride.

We feel like we can’t possibly let ourselves off the hook, but that’s just not true.

We got some likes and such; but then we had one person message us in response to the post and say that he couldn’t possibly forgive himself because of what his addiction had done to the ones he loved.


Now while I certainly understand those feelings and have struggled with similar thoughts in my past, the reality is that we not only can forgive ourselves, but must forgive ourselves if we are to move forward in freedom.

Easier said than done, I know 🙄

And let’s be real, even if we are a person of faith, letting what we “know” in our heads sink into our hearts is not an overnight process.

So with that in mind, I want to offer you 3 PRACTICAL reasons we should forgive ourselves:

1. No one is perfect and if you think you are, you need to get your head out of the sand.

Listen, we ALL make mistakes.

Some small.
Some big.
Some in between.

But we all do. On a daily basis.

I know I make at least 20 mistakes a day.
Some I am aware of.
Some not so much.

Mistakes ranging from overreacting with my kids to cussing in traffic to not flossing my teeth (shhh, don’t tell my dentist).

And you know what… that’s Ok. In fact, it’s a good thing because mistakes help us learn and grow.


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I don’t know about you, but I like the fact that there’s always room for improvement.

Mistake: I stayed up too late last night and looked at porn.

Lesson: Maybe next time I go to bed with my wife because staying up late just leads to trouble and a less productive me the next day to boot.

Mistake: I was scrolling through Netflix and ended up watching a movie that I shouldn’t have.

Lesson: Netflix is great but it’s got a lot of crap too. Going forward I’ll do the smart thing and just watch Netflix when someone else is with me to enjoy the programming.

Mistake: Last night my wife got on me about my latest slip-up that I ALREADY apologized for, and so I overreacted and yelled at her. Now I’m on the couch.

Lesson: Hey, you know that grace I wish she’d extend me? I need to give her the same. Especially since it was my poor choice that started the whole mess.

Get it?

Learn. Grow. And then forgive.

2. Do unto yourself as you would do unto others.

It surprises me how many guys who struggle with porn will readily forgive other people but can’t do the same when it comes to themselves.

They entirely miss the point of the Golden Rule.

The idea is to not be a selfish person.

Extending to others the same care and love you (in theory) offer yourself does not mean that you extend people grace, love, and care but starve yourself of the same.

Yes forgive others.

But also forgive yourself when needed too.

3. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you got away with one.

I think one of the reasons we struggle with grace and forgiveness for ourselves is that doing so violates our inner sense of justice.

The thought goes like this…

“I did a terrible thing. I hurt a lot of people. If I forgive myself I am not getting what I deserve.”

Not true.

Like it or not, forgiveness does not mean you avoid the natural consequences of your actions.

It simply means that you will not let those consequences define who you are or the value you have.

We will always have to contend with the results of our choices. There is no escaping this reality and that’s enough “justice” for the day.

Again, I get it. When we struggle with sexual “sin” it is very natural to feel the shame and guilt that accompanies our poor choices.

But being content to wallow in your lack of forgiveness is not the answer.

Yes, we need to TRULY repent.

Yes, we need to make a real change and not just say sorry over and over again.

But after we fall, it’s time to get up, brush off the dust, acknowledge our mistakes, learn, and adjust, so we can do better next time.

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