recovery in Christ when life is broken

Showing items filed under “Fear”

Why I Can’t Forgive Myself


“I knew better. How could I have acted so foolishly? I can’t believe that I would stoop so low. I’m better than that. I don’t deserve to go on. I’m not worth forgiving. I’m worthless.”

Have you ever said one of these things to yourself? I have. Maybe you say some of these things to yourself every day, suffocating from guilt and shame because of a sin or mistake. Or maybe you spend your days obsessing about how to overcome the past, desperately searching for a way to somehow “forgive yourself.”

“Forgiving yourself” is common terminology used to describe self-release of personal guilt and shame. You don’t have to go far in recovery circles to hear someone say, “I know that God forgives me, and the person I’ve hurt forgave me, but I just can’t forgive myself.” Many books have been written on the subject. Even medical websites carry articles about the importance of self-forgiveness. The problem is that self-forgiveness is not a concept rooted in biblical truth.

If you think about it, no one in society has the authority to forgive themselves for something that they have done wrong. Teenagers can’t “un-ground” themselves. Prisoners can’t declare themselves forgiven and walk out of prison. People in a debt crisis can’t forgive themselves the remainder of what they owe. In all instances, we need a higher authority to pardon us or to declare that the debt from the sin is “paid in full.” Come to think of it, if we could forgive ourselves, we wouldn’t need Jesus.

But some of this confusion is semantics. When a Christian says, “I cannot forgive myself,” it usually means he is mistakenly holding on to guilt and shame for sins already paid for by Christ. He is struggling to truly accept Christ’s ransom for his soul as the lens through which he views himself.

God didn’t excuse sin, Jesus paid the debt of sin for us. Christ paid the debt of sin in full with his own blood, being nailed to a cross, so that he could offer forgiveness as a gift. Those who receive the gift are declared sons and daughters by God, forgiven, clean, righteous.

“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:13-14)

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)


A continual struggle with guilt and Shame is often rooted in one of these reasons:
  • Pride. Pride whispers, “I cannot believe I would stoop so low. I am above that sin.” Pride struggles to accept God’s charity; it wants to earn back God’s grace (an undeserved gift). A prideful person wants to think well of (or lift up) his or her sinful human nature.
  • Idolatry. God’s word is not authoritative for the person. He or she believes another claim more than God’s declaration of forgiveness (Satan’s lies, the accusations of someone they offended, a parent's voice, or his or her own thoughts and feelings).
  • Low self-worth or misplaced identity. When thoughts such as “I do not deserve forgiveness” or “I am not worthy of forgiveness” lead someone to feel guilt or shame instead of gratitude to Christ, he or she is seeking value and identity apart from Jesus. God claimed our lives as valuable to him through Jesus’ blood. There is no greater cost that the Father could offer than the life of the Son to purchase your soul. Christ’s ransom (not our own self-worth or merit) defines your true value and identity.
  • The person may not yet be saved from sin. He or she has not truly believed and received Christ’s sacrifice as the only payment that satisfies the total cost of sin. If someone has not accepted Christ’s sacrifice as the payment for his or her sin, God may be convicting that person of his or her guilt so that the person may turn to Christ and be saved from hell.


The truth is that we are all great sinners by nature, unable to overcome sin. We are capable of great evil. It is because of God’s great love for us that He offers forgiveness as a gift. God reclaims those who accept Christ’s undeserved, unearned gift and calls them forgiven, righteous children.

If you have accepted Christ, but continue to struggle with guilt and shame, pray first. Thank God for His complete forgiveness of all of your sin. Thank Him for seeing you as valuable enough to ransom your soul through the Son. Thank Him for naming you as clean, forgiven, righteous, and a son or daughter of God. Confess any pride. Confess if you have allowed something other Christ’s sacrifice to define your worth. Ask God to renew your heart and mind so that you see yourself through the lens of His word. Then, memorize scripture that claims who you are in Christ; your feelings will often follow your mind as you remind yourself of these truths. 1 Corinthians 6:11 and Psalm 103:12 are two great verses to write on your heart.

“Forgiving yourself” will never free you from guilt and shame. You receive freedom from guilt and shame when you accept Christ as Savior, trust that God’s claims upon your soul and identity are true, and allow His claims to define your life.


- Nate G.

Why Should I Not Kill Myself?

I loaded my shotgun, flipped off the safety and put the barrel to my head. In my mind, life was no longer worth living. But something kept me from going through with it.



What would happen to me afterward? I didn’t know if I truly wanted to end my life or if my pain was just too great to know what to do next. Ultimately, thankfully, I was afraid to go through with it…and, deep down, I don’t think I actually wanted to.


What I won’t tell you…

I’m not going to list a bunch of anecdotal things to try or whatever else those 50 reasons not to kill yourself lists say when I googled it. When I was in that dark place, those things would have been insulting or laughable. So, I’m going straight to the root of the issue.


Why not kill yourself?

To be frank, in case you don’t read any further,…because what awaits you after death may be infinitely worse than the hell you are in now.


Does everyone who commits suicide go to Hell?

No. BUT…not everyone goes to heaven. So this merits thinking and truth. Let’s look at some reasons to live:


Why should I not kill myself?

  1. Death won’t solve the problem. Ultimately, your problems are spiritual problems. Your spirit continues after death. The torment in this life is NOTHING compared to the torment of Hell. If you die before receiving the forgiveness of your sins by trusting in Jesus as your LORD and Savior, you will spend eternity in Hell. This is not narrow minded or fear-mongering; it is true and loving. It would be hateful to know that eternity in Hell awaited someone and not tell them the only way to eternal life.
  2. Suicide is Satan’s will and desire for you…and you don’t want to follow him. The Bible says that you have an enemy named Satan. His aim is to keep people in sin and lead them to death separated from God. If he does so before they trust Jesus, they will spend forever in Hell tormented with him. Satan hates God and wants to destroy God’s most precious creation: YOU! Do not follow Satan by killing yourself.
  3. It is the most selfish thing you can do. This may seem insensitive, but it’s a loving statement: Life is NOT about you. Many people despair because they are so focused on themselves and their situation. God doesn’t intend for us to live like that. Self-focus leads to self-pity leads to self-preservation, including self-harm/self-murder (“I’ll kill myself so that you can’t hurt me anymore”). But what if life is not about you? What if our existence has a higher divine purpose? To move beyond self-focus in this world and into a higher calling of life’s eternal purpose. This is what God says the entirety of the Bible is: to love God and love others (Matthew 22:36-40).
  4. Death is not your decision to make. God has ordained every day of your life. It’s not for you to determine the day of your death. He designed you to know Him through Christ and to carry out a divine purpose. He wants to bring you life, peace, and joy – now and forever. Psalm 139:16 says, “Your eyes (God’s) saw my unformed substance; in your book (the book of life) were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them.”
  5. Suicide allows bullies, abusers, and haters to win. If you’re considering this because of what someone has done to you, don’t let them win. Don’t let hatred and injuries you have suffered have the final say. Don’t fight hate with self-hate or self-murder. Your life has great value. Run to God and let him vindicate you.
  6. If you have trusted in Jesus, you will still be held accountable for your suicide. If you have trusted in Jesus, then your life is not your own. Committing suicide is against God’s will. Your sins will be forgiven, including the sin of self-murder, but you will have to answer to God for your rebellion. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil” (2 Corinthians 5:10). If you commit suicide, you will die without finishing the good work God has planned for you. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
  7. Killing yourself is foolish, cowardly, and sick. Sometimes we imagine a grandiose memorial or that suicide would be vengeance on those who harmed us. The truth is, people would pause for a funeral service, then life will move on…people will have birthdays, celebrate holidays, get married, have babies. The desire for remembrance is fueled by pride…pride is bad reason to kill yourself. The desire for vengeance is fueled by hate…another bad reason to kill yourself. And, vengeance belongs to God. You will not be around to witness the aftermath of your death anyway.
  8. Lastly, it’s often darkest before the dawn. Many peoples’ lives change dramatically when they are at their breaking point. It is often when people truly surrender their lives and wills to God and stop living for themselves. I am one of those people. I wanted to kill myself in 2005. I was alone, filled with despair, hopelessness, hatred, unforgiveness, addiction, and anguish. Within a few months, though my circumstances were the same, I was filled with joy, peace, hope, purpose, love, forgiveness, and an entirely new life. What made the difference? I realized that I had been living for myself and calling all the shots. My decisions had caught up with me and I wanted to die. Then, I knelt beside the couch that I was living on and gave my life to God. I trusted Jesus and asked him to save me. EVERYTHING CHANGED. He didn’t make me better; Jesus made me NEW! That’s the good news of Jesus for YOU, too: God loves you. He sent Jesus to die for your sins. Christ rose from the dead, showing He was not just a man. If you trust in Him, He will give you a new life, forgiveness of sins and you will live forever where there is no pain or tears.


There are MANY reasons for wanting to die. Some of God’s most faithful people (for example, Elijah and Jonah) were hurt so badly that they wished God would let them die. The pain of life is real. But, the answer is never suicide. God can heal your pain, redeem it, and use it for good if you give it to Him. Pray to Jesus right now. He WILL help you! And…so will His people…


If you are still considering suicide, reach out to a local church and tell them what you are thinking. Tell them you are thinking about suicide, and need to know about the hope of Jesus Christ and how to have eternal life. If you still are feeling the pull the kill yourself, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

-John E.


For more information check our the Self-Injury topic in the Struggles section of our website.


recovery in Christ when life is broken.