Self-Forgiveness: Voices of Other Bible Teachers

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Recently I wrote an article about self-forgiveness, Are You Supposed to Forgive Yourself?. I know that my content runs contrary to much of what is espoused in our culture of therapeutic religion. This religion promotes self above all else. If you struggle with what I wrote, I am provided some other references of Bible teachers who hold to the same view I do. Perhaps their words will help shed some more light on the subject.

I have provided a short quote. To get their full teaching, click on the link to read or listen to their words in full.


1. H.B. Charles Jr. – How Can I Forgive Myself?

Charles is the pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church of Jacksonville and Orange Park, Florida.

The most faithful response to this question is the reject it as an illegitimate question.

The biblical teaching about forgiveness can be summarized in two main ideas:

  • God forgives sinners freely, completely, and sacrificially. Ultimately, divine forgiveness is paid for by the cross of Christ.
  • Christians must forgive those who wrong us, as God has forgiven us for the sake of Christ.

That’s it. Sermon over. There is not third point. God has forgiven us and we must forgive others. Period.


2. John Piper – Should We Learn to “Forgive Ourselves”?

Piper is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

So my closing word is: Let’s humble ourselves and step down off the judge’s seat and let God be God in his pronouncement of no condemnation.


3. John MacArthur – Answering the Hard Questions About Forgiveness

MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, president of The Master’s University and Seminary, and featured teacher with the Grace to You media ministry.

I realize there are some who teach that a kind of self-forgiveness is necessary. I find this nowhere in Scripture.


4. John MacArthur – Audio: Forgive Yourself?

You need forgiveness from a far more important being than yourself.


5. Robert D. Jones – “I Just Can’t Forgive Myself”: A Biblical Alternative to Self-Forgiveness

Jones is Associate Professor of Biblical Counseling at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.

What does the Bible say about forgiving yourself? Surprisingly, nothing! You may study the Word of God from cover to cover, but you’ll not find self-forgiveness, either by example or precept.


6. Mike Wittmer – Forgive Me

Wittmer is a Professor of Theology at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

And if you are struggling under the burden of unbearable guilt, ask yourself what you really need—your forgiveness or God’s?


7. Tim Challies – Discernment Filter: Forgive Yourself

Challies is a leading Christian blogger and an elder at Grace Fellowship Church in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

As we peer into Scripture, it becomes quickly apparent that “forgive yourself” is not biblical language. I have not found any place in Scripture where we are told to forgive ourselves, either in those word or even in concept.


Question: Have you found forgiveness for your sins from God based on the death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ?