You are forgiven and free. So why are you having a hard time forgiving yourself?

For anyone who is struggling to forgive themselves, Pastor Paul Johnson says it’s really important to cling to what we know to be the truth, regardless of what we’ve done or what’s been done to us.

“The Bible tells us that ‘While we were yet sinners Christ died for us’ (Romans 5:8).The Bible tells us that ‘If we ask for forgiveness, He is faithful and just to forgive us’ (1 John 1:9). The Bible tells us that Jesus loves us regardless of our condition. I think that in order to understand that we have to go to the cross.”

“We have to understand the depth of the atonement and understand the depth of His substitutionary death for us. He took all sin on Himself, so why would we want to carry that? We run into a tremendous amount of attacks by the enemy. Satan likes to go into those places and convince us that love isn’t real or isn’t really for me, it’s for other people.”

Pastor Paul helps us understand how shame and lack of forgiveness holds us back from experiencing the abundant life Christ died for us to have.

Shame is a natural consequence of things that have happened to us so it’s not wrong in itself to feel shame. But it is wrong when shame begins to define us and begins to define how we treat other people.

“Freedom with Christ isn’t just about eternal life, it’s also about abundant life. I’m not talking about a lot of money and cars, I’m talking about being free to be who we are in front of Christ. When we are who we are in front of Christ shame has no place there.”

“One day when we walk into heaven, theologically speaking, we are attached to Jesus and Jesus is attached to us. We wear that beautiful robe of righteousness and so we must believe that, we must understand that theologically.”

Forgiveness is not an easy process in general, but it can actually be especially difficult to forgive ourselves. We need to remember who Jesus is and how He views us to be able to receive forgiveness in our lives and then be able to extend it to others.


Pastor Paul Johnson has a keen interest in church multiplication and leadership development. He holds Doctor of Ministry and Masters of Divinty degrees and has authored two books and numerous articles regarding church life and governance.

Paul and Wendi Johnson on the power of forgiveness

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