I had just handled a situation with a neurological disorder, an eccentric and bothersome roommate, and some short-tempered paramedics as best I thought I could. But, I was reviewing the events in my head and drawing conclusions about what I’d seen myself do: I was pretty impatient with her… I shouldn’t have said that… Why did I get upset with her? I’m working on this whole “be humble” thing and it’s definitely not working right now… Why can’t I get it to work? Why can’t I make these changes? Why can’t I—
“You’re pretty hard on yourself,” I heard from the passenger seat. Great friends tend to know the best time to say things like that.
I find it’s hard to forgive myself. I am my harshest critic and I notice more of my mistakes than anyone else does. It’s pretty easy to be hard on myself and not give myself the benefit of the doubt.
I’ve been studying grace since then, and I’ve been finding that it’s perfectly okay to give myself the benefit of the doubt. It’s good to recognize my weaknesses and great to take them to the Lord (12:23-29). The Lord wants to work with us and walk with us, and that’s exactly the point that helped me let go of my own faults and be more concerned with what the Lord thinks of me and what He wants and where He wants to go. Moses had this pretty figured out (Exodus 33):
If God’s not going to go there, then I shouldn’t either. He teaches in Ezekiel that if I repent, that my sins should not be mentioned to me anymore. That includes me; I should not mention my sins to me once I repent. God forgets my sins and challenges me to do the same. He invites me to do the same. He wants me to do the same.
The benefit of the doubt is that we know where it comes from. God forgets my sins, I can forget them, Satan doesn’t forget them. Satan will throw doubts at me because he cannot forget that I have sinned and that I have repented. I know that doubts don’t come from God. Self-doubt doesn’t come from God. If I can’t forgive myself, those feelings don’t come from God. God forgives me, and I can forgive me too.