Dear friend: I don’t think God can forgive me

Dear Suzie,

I have followed your Bible study on forgiving, and I feel like I can forgive others, but I can’t accept this for myself. Their actions led me down a road that is littered with regret, and it affected so many.


Dear friend,

At some point we accept grace as the gift that it is. We let down our defenses, willing to believe that the grace promised is for us too.

It’s a shift in focus from all the things you can’t change on your own, to the love and grace He willingly holds out.

Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s consent. So don’t be afraid therefore; you are worth more than many sparrows. Matthew 10:29, 31

There are at least 35 species of sparrows in North America. The exact number of how many sparrows exist is unknown but it is at least in the billions and God does not let one of them go unnoticed. How much does He love us? How much does He love you?

Right where you are. That’s our Savior. He knelt beside the woman in the dust, whom others accused. He met in the middle of the night with a man respected by others, but who wasn’t brave enough to pursue Christ in the brightness of day. He offered grace to the thief on the cross next to Him.

How are we any different? Why can’t He offer us grace right where we are? And how does receiving that grace change us? It changes everything, day by day, moment by moment, as we discover what it means to be His.

He hurls your sin as far as the east is from the west, reframes you through the cross, and sets your feet on a new road, one that isn’t littered with regret, but lined with redemption.

One of the most powerful discoveries that I made in the years that I studied forgiving is that scripture doesn’t ask us to forgive ourselves. It asks us to boldly come to the mercy seat and receive what He so willingly offers.

Will you accept that gift today as your  own?


  1. Laurel C says:

    Hi, everyone. Yes,, I know the problem with forgiving others and not myself. Childhood abuse was part of the problem. If Dad says I have to be perfect, then God must say the same. Bradshaw’s book, “Healing the Shame that Binds You” helped me see that guilt is seeing that I behaved in a wrong way. Shame says that all of me is bad. That comes from abuse, and indicated that I can never be good enough for God. Then one day God told me that I was calling Him a liar if I did not forgive myself. That took a while to accept. I am still memorizing and meditating and watching my thought to see if they agree with what Scripture says about God’s forgiveness. He sees me as perfect. The healing seems to take a long time. Laurel

  2. I also find it hard to believe God can forgive me after all the terrible things I did while out in the world. I can believe he had forgiven and can heal everyone else, but I feel because I still have thoughts about certain people or situations, that He can’t forgive me.
    I especially have problems in the area of God using me in light of my son’s murder 8 years ago and the fact that so many “ministers” and church folks told me mt

    • I hadn’t quite finished but what I wanted to say was that ,I was accused of causing my son’s murder due to my negative thinking and because I wasn’t a better mitherm

      • Jesus meets us where we are, no matter how broken, no matter if others are struggling to forgive us, so that we can discover healing, but more than that, transformation. Complete change that may take years, but we celebrate every milestone. May the milestone you celebrate today be the fact that you accept God’s forgiveness and mercy for you, and surrender to the process of forgiving. We have no way of knowing where it might take you, but it won’t leave you stuck where you are today.

  3. Dear Suzanne, my life was changed when I found Neil Anderson’s work on forgiveness. I would have told you God forgave you but my sins were too great. But He did forgive me. The finishing work on the cross ensured my forgiveness. My sadness is that I made poor choices. But today I am redeemed. I daily walk in forgiveness. Your statement,”One of the most powerful discoveries that I made in the years that I studied forgiving is that scripture doesn’t ask us to forgive ourselves. It asks us to boldly come to the mercy seat and receive what He so willingly offers.” Thank you, for this beautiful reminder. I am redeemed. Diana

    • Redeemed. What a beautiful word, one we don’t take for granted. As it transforms. It reminds us of His love. It leads us away from the sin that so easily besets to discover the path that God carves out for us.

  4. Funny that you posted this today. I have just spent the morning talking to my mother-in-law who has never liked me. We lived close for a while and it was terrible how insulting and hateful she was toward me. We moved 600 miles away and things got a little better since I wasn’t around her much but our relationship was still strained. There is a lot of hurt in our past and I did your bible study, Susie, and asked the Lord to help me forgive her so that I could move on. This morning she called me because she literally has no one else to talk to now. My in-laws are a pretty disfunctional family and things have really hit the fan, I guess. Nobody is speaking to anybody. She dumped on me big time and I have to say, I did not feel any of the self-satisfaction or smugness I thought I’d feel. I truly felt pity for this woman and I said a prayer for her when we hung up. I was even able to tell her, for the first time, that I loved her. God truly does work wonders. Thank you so much for the book and bible study. I really really needed it and I didn’t think it had really helped me until this morning. What an eye-opener.

    • Please take time to celebrate this beautiful gift that Christ and forgiveness has given you. When you see such tangible evidence of the power of forgiveness, it leads us to praise the One who filled that wounded place with compassion. Thank you for sharing this!

  5. Dear Suzanne,

    I heard u speak on Air 1 or it might have been K-Love but you talked about how we can love many but we do not trust everyone that we love. I was abused as a child, when I was 9 years old I was raped brutally and I have a hard time trusting God that he was actually there for me and for the longest time, I was toluld and be subservient and because of my past I’m having difficult up wd I wasith te words obeying trash

    • Dear Holly, I cannot imagine the pain you have felt, but I know God’s word says you are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are not trash or junk or any of the words you have thought. Take those thoughts captive to the Lord. There is evil in the world but you are not evil, what happened to you was evil but you are not evil. Be still, my friend, trust God. He loves you enough to have let His son die on the cross for all the evil in the world. Blessings. Diana

    • Holly, you are fearfully and wonderfully made. My heart hurts at the thought of a beautiful child being raped. It’s wrong. It’s evil, and it hurts my heart and that of the God who never desired that His creation go down such a road of wrong. My prayer is that you will not only heal, but be transformed and others will see Jesus in you in such a way that they will also be led to the love of Christ. Thank you for the honesty and courage it took to post your story.

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