The hardest person to forgive can be ourselves. Long after we have forgiven others, we can be in bondage to feelings of guilt. We disappoint ourselves. We lose trust in ourselves.
Satan, the accuser, wants to torment us with guilt (Revelation 12:10). But we have a high priest who intercedes on our behalf before the throne of God (Hebrews 7:25). His blood covers us and takes away our sin completely:
(Hebrews 10:14, NIV)
Note the words, "being made holy"-- it is an on-going process (Philippians 2:12). The blood of Jesus covers us during this course of learning here on earth. That is why "there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1, NIV). When we confess our sins to God, we have the assurance that "he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9, NIV). God in his mercy has already provided the atoning sacrifice that will purify our consciences, and will even make our bodies clean:
This forgiveness does not come by anything we can do on our own, for the Bible says that on our own, "nothing good" is in us (Romans 7:18). Our lives are based on letting God's own spirit work through us, to do what we could never do on our own:
We also have the comfort and assurance of knowing that because forgiven sins can not separate us from God, he will never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5) !
If our deeds or attitudes have harmed someone, there may be actions we can take to mitigate the situation. The Bible calls these "amends", and "restitution." Making amends can help us to bring peace to a situation, and settle our hearts about a matter, opening the door for self-forgiveness. Jesus said:
Asking for forgiveness from another is also a form of amends. Seeking forgiveness and being forgiven can be a wonderfully freeing experience. It is also humbling, and our pride can prevent us from seeking this freedom. If we don't take this step when we know we should, we may only feel worse about ourselves.
If there seems to be little we can do to make amends or repair a situation, it is never too late to apply the power of prayer and the blood of Jesus Christ. Prayer reaches beyond time, space, and all barriers. As God's children we do our best, and leave the rest to God.