He Said-She Said: I Can't Forgive Myself
- Kris Swiatocho and Cliff Young
- 2013 9 May
EDITOR'S NOTE: He Said-She Said is a biweekly advice column for singles featuring a question from a Crosswalk.com reader with responses from a male and female point of view. If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org (selected questions will be posted anonymously).
QUESTION: I grew up Christian, in a Christian family, but after my parents divorced my life took a downward spiral. I've never had a healthy relationship. I've been broken up with, I've cheated on boyfriends, I married a guy because I got pregnant, I cheated on my husband, I separated from my husband, and now I'm interested in a new man (who does really well with my son). I need some guidance. Today if I died, I feel like I might go to hell. I have asked God to forgive me for the horrible life choices I've made, but I haven't been able to forgive myself. I don't know what to do, and I don't want to hurt anyone else.
We've sinned a lot, both we and our parents. We've fallen short, hurt a lot of people (Psalms 106:6).
None of us is blameless and we all have things in our past we regret, especially those actions which have inflicted pain upon someone else. However, as you have probably learned growing up in a Christian home, our God is a loving and forgiving God. If you have asked Him to forgive you, He has according to His Word.
For by the blood of Christ we are set free, that is, our sins are forgiven. How great is the grace of God (Ephesians 1:7).
No matter what you have done, it has been covered by God’s grace. Although many in this world find it difficult to accept and believe there is a God who can forgive us of our sins, oftentimes what we find even more challenging is forgiving ourselves.
The most important thing at this point in your life is to work through some of the issues that seems to have plagued you since childhood. Oftentimes, in the midst of a parent’s divorce, children sometimes lose the representation of what a “father” should be and look like. As a result, it affects how they see their Heavenly Father.
If you have not sought out a Christian counselor, mentor and confidant, I would highly suggest you do. With their help, you may be able to discover how the disappointments and frustrations of your past have impacted your relationships and how you approach them today.
The road to a successful relationship begins with healthy people. It is not something to enter into in order to solve or fix a problem. If you truly do not want to hurt anyone else, it is best not to get involved with anyone, at least for the time being. You need a sufficient time to ascertain where you are emotionally and for healing.
Utilize this time on your own to concentrate on yourself and on the relationships you have already have - with God and with your son.
First let me say how much I appreciate your letter. It takes courage to share the things are you telling us. I, like you, was raised with Christian values only to also have my parents divorce - which led to many personal broken and dysfunctional relationships. I would make many bad choices leading to hurt and embarrassment. But then I found the Lord and was able to learn of his forgiveness for my sins. I was able to repent of my mistakes, of my bad choices, knowing he would be able to heal and restore. The key, my friend, is you HAVE taken ownership for your past, praying again for better choices for the future. This is a big step. But to truly know of God's forgiveness you must make sure that you do know the Lord as your personal Savior (so you won't go to hell). Have you asked for forgiveness for your sins, knowing you can only get to God through Christ? With this acceptance, you are born again.
So whether you have asked the Lord to come into your life now or have received him in the past, you are still forgiven for your past, present and future sins. What is now important is you forgive yourself. I know it sounds easier than it is. From personal experience there are some things I have had a hard time letting go of. There are some things that I can't believe God would forgive me for. But please know, without this acceptance of God's grace, it will be difficult to heal and to move forward.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matthew 6:33).
As you grow in the Lord, as you seek Christ in all things, as you go to church, serve, and read your Bible (and make sure your new man is doing the same, as it's critical that you are equally yoked), God will slowly change you from the inside out. You will become a new creation in all ways. The past will simply be the past. One day you will be able to tell others of what God has done, just like me. Your past won't hold you hostage anymore. You will be free.
All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name (Acts 10:43).
HE is … Cliff Young, a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and a veteran single of many decades. He has traveled the world in search of fresh experiences, serving opportunities, and the perfect woman (for him) and has found that his investments in God, career and youth ministry have paid off in priceless dividends.
SHE is … Kris Swiatocho, the President and Director of TheSinglesNetwork.org Ministries and FromHisHands.com Ministries. Kris has served in ministry in various capacities for the last 25 years. An accomplished trainer and mentor, Kris has a heart to reach and grow leaders so they will in turn reach and grow others. She is the author of three books: Singles and Relationships: A 31-Day Experiment (co-authored with Dick Purnell of Single Life Resources); From the Manger to the Cross: The Women in Jesus' Life; and the most recent, Jesus, Single Like Me with Study Questions (includes a leader's guide and conference/retreat of the same name).
DISCLAIMER: We are not trained psychologists or licensed professionals. We're just average folk who understand what it's like to live the solo life in the twenty-first century. We believe that the Bible is our go-to guide for answers to all of life's questions, and it's where we'll go for guidance when responding to your questions. Also, it's important to note that we write our answers separately.
GOT A QUESTION? If you've got a question about anything related to singleness or living the single life, please submit it to email@example.com (selected questions will be posted anonymously). While we are unable to answer every inquiry, we do hope that this column will be an encouragement to you. Click here to visit the He Said-She Said archives.
Publication date: May 9, 2013