Can You Forgive Yourself?

To forgive oneself presents a problem for many. Read a letter written by a woman found in Mark 5:25-34.

Dear Friend,

I can not express the joy I feel. You have no idea the hell I have been living in these past 12 years. An outcast shunned by all – even you. No one knows the many nights I cried myself to sleep, desperately wishing I would never awake on the morrow.

All my savings were spent on so-called doctors. They were quick to take my money even though they could not help me. I only grew worse. I couldn’t work. My physical condition robbed me of strength. More than that, I was considered unclean. To touch people or their possessions was unthinkable. I could not even worship at the temple.

Oh, how many times I repeated the words of the psalm: Has God forgotten how to pity? Has he in anger stifled His compassion? All hope was gone. All avenues of help were exhausted. Dead ends, all of them. But then I heard of one who had healed many. Truly, this man is a prophet sent from God, I thought.

So when I heard him passing by, I quickly covered myself so I would not be recognized. I knew I was not worthy to look into his eyes, to have him speak directly to me – like he did to Jairus – or even touch me. My thought was, “If I could just touch the hem of his robe, I will be healed.”

I know what you are thinking. What audacity to make this good man unclean because I wanted to touch him! How unbelievable to think healing might be in his clothing! Why, after 12 years, would God even consider me worthy of healing?

Please understand. I knew all this, but I was desperate. Being careful not to draw attention to myself, I pushed through the crowd that surrounded him. When I was close enough I stretched out my arm. I felt like a thief as my fingertips touched his garment.

Immediately, I was healed. Immediately, I was no longer unclean, no longer an outcast of society, no longer without hope.

That’s when my heart stopped. In fact everything stopped – the man and the crowd. His words, “Who touched me?” sent shivers through my body. Life played out in slow motion. I heard Peter talking. I saw the anxious look on Jairus’ face realizing that time was running out for his daughter. I saw this man turn around, searching the faces of the people. I felt the weight of being responsible for the delay.

I couldn’t stop trembling – out of joy for my healing and out of fear for my presumptuous act. When I felt his eyes on me, I bowed at his feet and confessed all. “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” His kind words comforted me. I was no longer afraid that I had done something wrong, but how quickly that changed.

Even as He spoke to me, I could hear words spoken to Jairus. Words that cut through my heart. “Do not trouble the Master any further. Your daughter is dead.” I was the delay that caused this child of 12 to die. My blessing was her curse.

How could she forgive herself? She was responsible for the delay that cost the child’s life. She was healed in her body, but her soul would suffer the grief of this situation. To forgive herself would mean that she did not value the young life. Good thing she did not end her letter this way.

As I turned to leave, my composure was restored. Words spoken to that grieving father echoed in my ears. I knew all would be well because Jesus said, “Be not afraid, only believe.”

Your resurrected friend.

She was able to forgive herself because she knew that Jesus was in total control. His intervention would make everything all right.  The questions we must ask ourselves is, “Does our belief system support this truth? Do we recognize that Jesus is in total control?”

Read more about this subject in Forgiveness, God-Style by B. L. Wade. E-book and printed copy available on