无法原谅自己该怎么办?(What If You Struggle to Forgive Yourself for a Past Sin?)

许多年来,我常常收到信徒的信息,大概内容会说:「我无法原谅自己过去犯过的罪。我已经求基督的饶恕无数次,但是我却还是感到罪恶感,然后无法接受上帝的赦免。」

反驳恶魔

如果你对这番话感到心有戚戚焉,那么我鼓励你以下:问自己:“我已经接受了基督为我牺牲,而且对神认罪了吗?”如果是,那么神会一边说:“我已经赦免了你”(圣经里很清楚的教导)然后另一面又用罪恶感压迫你吗,即使祂已经为了去除你的罪恶而死?当然不会。因此,这就代表你的绝望感来自的不是神,而是撒旦。所以,请回撒旦说:“你说对了,我是一个罪人。但是基督已经完全的赦免了我,而且他比你还要更伟大,如同约翰一书4:4所说。所以,我会相信我主,不是你!”(陶恕写的一篇文刊标题就叫“我对恶魔回嘴,”后来便成了他一本书的书名。) 

耶稣说撒旦是个骗子,当牠说谎的时候,那就是牠自身的语言。牠最厉害的就是谎话。撒旦在骗你,告诉你基督的救赎工作在这件事上无法帮你。基督是真理。他说什么呢?“到我這裡來的,我總不丟棄他”(约翰福音6:37),“我們若認自己的罪,神是信實的,是公義的,必要赦免我們的罪,洗淨我們一切的不義”(约翰一书1:9)。如果我们相信撒旦说基督的死不足以盖过我们的罪,那么我们就是在相信一直以来最会撒谎的那一位,牠的语言就是谎言。 

那么,你有向基督认罪吗?如果有,那么你已经被赦免了。不管你是不是有怀疑,或是感情上有没有接受,“感觉被赦免”不是评估的依据 -- 事实就是,如果你照着约翰一书1:9去做,(除非神说了谎)那么你已经被赦免。 

我们绝不敢称神说谎

所有的罪都要被审判 -- 如果我们不接受基督为我们受的罚则,那么我们就得自己承受。但是,因为我们完全没有自身的义能清除自己的罪,我们无法赎回自己,因此,对自己的审判永远不会停。只有那被基督宝血遮盖的能逃离对罪最终的审判,因为那罚则已经降在那位给予我们称义的礼物的那一位身上。 

我们永远不可能够好来偿还自己的罪。所以,如果在认罪后,我们仍选择相信自己没有被赦免,我们就是在说基督的牺牲不够,他的恩典不够,我们就是在说神骗人。 

史温道牧师说:“只想着要原谅自己,我们就把双眼从神身上转移到自己了 -- 这样反而让我们更难拒绝罪!祂已经赦免了我们。我们必须接受这份饶恕并且在当中安息。那代表的就是我们得将手中的罪放掉,拒绝不停的在脑海里重播,然后让赦免的真理以祂的平安覆盖我们。从主来的赦免比我们自己给的还要有力量。” 

如果你认为自己不配神的饶恕,你是对的 -- 没有人配得祂的恩典。如果我们配得,那么我们就不需要了!但是神这样把恩典彰显给我们:当我们还深陷在罪孽当中时,基督已为我们受死(罗马书5:8)。祂知道我们最丑陋的一面却仍爱我们。 

相信祂的话,不是跟随你自己的感觉

不要相信撒旦说的谎言:你与神的关系全仰赖在你时时刻刻要做对的事,然后要有正确的感觉。撒旦也可能试图说服你说你丢失了救赎。若是这样,那么你就应当在心里重复默想圣经的话。我们无法赚取与基督的关系(以弗所书2:8-9;提多书3:5)。因此,我们也无法做任何事来丢弃这份救赎。没有人能将我们从父的手中夺去(约翰福音10:29)。我们不再做善事,或是做了坏事,都无法将我们从祂手中夺走,因为一开始我们的救赎就不是因为我们做的善事(除基督以外,没人能行善),而是因为基督为我们完成了完美的工。 

要小心不要让自己的感觉阻挡我们相信主。要不然你就会掉入恶魔的陷阱里,出不来,神叫我们不能忽视牠,所以我们不会被牠欺骗(哥林多后书2:11)。撒旦其中一种狡诈就是让你专注在自己的罪恶感上,导致你不再去教会服事,不再做见证,不再成长,不再信靠神的话。因为牠无法夺走你的救赎,牠会想办法使你分心,不再为主做工。牠会试图破坏你与神的关系。不要对牠让步。求神帮助你避开撒旦的陷阱。

相信耶稣,默想经文,不是你自己的感觉,最终神会改变你的感受。你已被赦免 -- 最后你会感觉被饶恕,但在那感觉改变之前,你仍是被饶恕的。如果你的逻辑理性也与神的话相左,那么也不可相信它。除了祂的话语外,其他都不可信 -- 逼迫你的理智去顺服神,求神帮助你,然后你的情感会跟着走,但是不管有没有,真理仍然是真理。如果你犯了罪,也认罪悔改了,你就已经被赦免了。没有任何罪孽比我们的救主还伟大。 

撒旦期望你被黑暗和绝望笼罩,因为牠知道真理会给你自由(约翰福音8:32),牠要你被捆绑住。反之,基督要你拥抱他的恩典,接受他给你行在光中的力量,如同他行在光中,他的宝血遮蔽了我们的罪(约翰一书1:7)。(澄清:圣经不只是教导罪的赦免,同样也有我们做的选择的后果。饶恕的意思是神除去了我们永生的定罪。但是,这不代表我们还在世上的时候就不必面对后果。已被赦免的人仍可能得到性传播疾病,或是因为酒驾坐牢,等等。) 

全都是因为基督

最终,不愿意原谅自己是因为骄傲 -- 把自己和自己的罪孽看的比神还有祂的恩典还要伟大。 

提姆凯勒在山寨版的上帝一书中写:「当人说:『我知道神已经赦免了我,但是我无法原谅自己,』他们的意思是他们得罪了一个偶像,而这位偶像的肯定比神来的重要。」 

路易斯在他其中一封信里有类似的见解:「我认为如果神已经饶恕了我们,我们应当原谅自己。要不然我们就是把自己看作比祂还要更高的法庭。」 

就像我一样,你也是很坏的人,一个不配的罪人。我们都不配神的恩典。但是祂仍赐下来给我们了 -- 光是这样就该让我们因喜乐而起舞!所以,不要自我怜悯,沉浸在我最重要的想法里面,以为所有的事情都绕着自己转,自己必须得解决一切问题来寻找出路。基督已经为你打通了道路。这无关你的义 -- 而是基督为我们所彰显的义(哥林多后书5:21)。是祂把我们变成祂所爱的孩子(罗马书8:16)并且称我们为祂的朋友(约翰福音15:15)。 

如果你还是很挣扎,别犹豫,去找你的牧师或是成熟的基督徒朋友,或是一位辅导帮忙。听从神,祂为你死在十字架上;不要听从神的敌人,牠只会告诉你基督在十字架上所作的不够救你。深读祂恩典和饶恕的话语,把他们写下来,背诵起来。选择自由,不是捆绑。不要绝望,但要在神的恩典里喜乐。代价已经付清了-- 是为了让你接受基督的所作的赎罪,而不是试图自己重复赔偿。 

接受神的赦免。放轻松,要喜乐。 

“如今,那些在基督耶穌裡的就不定罪了。”(罗马书8:1)

"我們既因信稱義,就藉著我們的主耶穌基督得與神相和。我們又藉著他,因信得進入現在所站的這恩典中,並且歡歡喜喜盼望神的榮耀。"(罗马书5:1-2)


 

I’ve received messages over the years from believers who say something along the lines of this: “I struggle with forgiving myself for a past sin. I’ve asked Christ’s forgiveness for it many times but can’t seem to resolve my feelings of guilt and accept God’s forgiveness.”

Talk Back to the Devil

If you can relate to the sentiment of this message, here’s what I encourage you to do: ask yourself, “Have I accepted Christ’s sacrifice on my behalf, and also confessed to God this sin?” If the answer is yes, would God on the one hand say, “I’ve fully forgiven you” (the clear teaching of Scripture) but then turn around and plague you with guilt feelings when in fact He died to remove your guilt? No, obviously not. That means the source of your despair is not God but the evil one. So talk back to the devil and say, “You’re right, I’m a sinner. But Christ has fully forgiven me and He is infinitely greater than you, as 1 John 4:4 says. So I will believe my Lord, not you!” (A. W. Tozer entitled one of his editorials “I talk back to the devil,” and it later became the title of one of his books.)

Jesus said Satan is a liar, and when he lies he speaks his native language. Lying is what he’s best at. Satan is lying to you and saying Christ’s redemptive work is not available to you in this case. Christ is the teller of truth. What does He say? “Whoever comes to me I will never drive away” (John 6:37, NIV). “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). If we believe Satan when he says Christ’s death wasn’t sufficient to cover our every sin, then we are choosing to believe the most accomplished liar of all time, the one whose native language is lies.

So, have you confessed your sins to Christ? If yes, then you are forgiven. Whether or not you have doubts, whether or not you have a subjective emotional sense of “feeling forgiven” is irrelevant—the fact is, if you have done what 1 John 1:9 says, (and unless God isn’t telling the truth!) you are forgiven.

We Dare Not Call God a Liar

All sins must be punished—if we don’t accept Christ’s punishment on our behalf, we leave ourselves to take it on. But since we have no righteousness to pay for our sins, we can never atone for them, and therefore the self-punishment can never end. Only we who are covered with the blood of Christ will escape eternal judgment for our sins, because that judgment has been laid on another whose gift of atonement we have received.

We simply aren’t good enough to ever pay off our own sins. So if we choose to believe we’re unforgiven after we’ve confessed, we say Christ’s sacrifice wasn’t good enough to save us by His grace, and in effect, we call God a liar.

Chuck Swindoll wrote, “By focusing on forgiving ourselves, we have taken the spotlight off of God and pointed it at us—making it doubly difficult to let go of our sin! He has forgiven us. We must simply receive that forgiveness and rest in it. That means releasing those sins we want to hold on to, refusing to revisit them in our minds, and allowing the truth of our forgiveness to cover us with His peace. Absolution from the Lord is far more powerful than absolution from oneself.”

If you feel you’re not worthy of God’s forgiveness, you’re right—none of us is worthy of His grace. If we were worthy of it, we wouldn’t need it! But God showed His grace to us in that while we were yet depraved and sinful, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). He has seen us at our worst and still loves us.

Trust His Word, Not Your Feelings

Don’t buy into Satan’s lie that your relationship with God depends on you always doing the right thing and feeling a certain way. The devil may even try to convince you that you’ve lost your salvation. If so, rehearse what Scripture says. We can do absolutely nothing to earn our standing with Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9Titus 3:5). Therefore, we can do nothing to lose it. No one can pluck us out of the Father’s hands (John 10:29). Our ceasing to do good works, or doing bad works, cannot move us out of His hands, simply because it is not our good works that put us there in the first place (we have no good works apart from Christ), but only the perfect work of Christ done on our behalf.

Beware of letting your feelings keep you from trusting the Lord. Otherwise you’ll fall into the devil’s trap and fall for his schemes, which we are commanded not to be ignorant of, so that he cannot outwit us (2 Corinthians 2:11). One of the things Satan would love to do is get you so focused on your guilt that you stop serving at church, stop witnessing, stop growing in your faith, and stop trusting what God’s Word says. Since he cannot keep you from going to Heaven, now he wants to derail you and distract you from serving God. He wants to create a wedge between you and God. Do not let him do this. Ask God to help you not fall into Satan’s trap.

Believe Christ and meditate on Scripture, not on how you feel, and eventually God will change how you feel. You are forgiven—eventually you’ll feel forgiven, but until you do, you still are. Don’t trust your intellect any more than your emotions if it is contradicting the Word of God. Don’t trust anything but His Word—force your intellect to submit to it, ask God for help, and eventually your emotions will likely follow, but whether they do or not, the truth is still the truth. If you have sinned and confessed, you are forgiven. No sin is bigger than our Savior.

Satan wants you to be shrouded in darkness and despair, because he knows the truth will set you free (John 8:32), and he wants you in bondage. Christ, in contrast, wants you to embrace His grace and accept His empowerment to walk in the light, as He is in the light, His blood covering us from all our sins (1 John 1:7). (One clarification: the Bible teaches not only forgiveness of our sins but also consequences of our choices. Forgiveness means that God eliminates our eternal condemnation and guilt. But it does not mean that our actions in this life have no consequences on earth. Forgiven people can still contract an STD or go to jail for drunk driving, for example.)

It’s All About Christ

Ultimately, refusing to forgive ourselves is an act of pride—it’s making ourselves and our sins bigger than God and His grace.

Tim Keller writes in Counterfeit Gods, “When people say, ‘I know God forgives me, but I can’t forgive myself,’ they mean that they have failed an idol, whose approval is more important to them than God’s.”

C. S. Lewis expressed a similar sentiment in one of his letters: “I think that if God forgives us we must forgive ourselves. Otherwise it is almost like setting up ourselves as a higher tribunal than Him.”

Like me, you’re a wretch, an unworthy sinner. Neither of us deserves God’s grace. But He gives it to us anyway—and that should make us dance for joy! So don’t be self-absorbed and self-important, as if this were all about you, and you have to figure it all out and make a way. Christ has figured it all out and made the way for you. It’s not about your righteousness—it’s about the righteousness of Christ on your behalf (2 Corinthians 5:21). He’s the One who has made us His beloved children (Romans 8:16) and called us His friends (John 15:15).

If you’re still struggling, by all means get help from your pastor or a mature Christian friend or counselor. Listen to God, who died for you on the cross, not to the Enemy of God, who is telling you Christ’s work on the cross wasn’t good enough. Read His words of grace and forgiveness out loud, write them down, and memorize them. Choose freedom, not bondage. Don’t despair, but rejoice in the grace of God. The price has been paid—it’s for you to accept Christ’s atonement, not try to repeat it.

Embrace God’s forgiveness. Relax. Rejoice.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1).

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoiced in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1-2).

When things in life feel temporary and uncertain, there’s one thing you can know for sure: Nothing can separate you from God’s wondrous grace. In Beautiful and Scandalous: How God's Grace Changes Everything, Randy offers daily meditations, Scripture readings, and inspirational quotes that will enable you to grasp more fully the grace God lavishes on you.

Photo by Eréndira Tovar on Unsplash

Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of fifty-some books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries