Why Am I Not Able To Forgive Myself?

Question: “I am a active woman in the gospel and i love the church a couple of years ago i had an affair. I have been though the repentance process and have been temple worthy for all most two years now but i can’t find the strength to forgive myself. If the savior is so gracious as to have forgivness for me why can’t i find it for myself?”

Answer: You bring an common question about the nature of healing following infidelity and the nature of sin as we understand it. Many following grievous sin like infidelity struggle to forgive themselves despite their best efforts. I have counseling and worked with men and women in similar circumstances. I recall one client in particular that twenty years following some serious sin was still struggling to move forward and was constantly trying to measure up to her standard due to her sins in days past. I hear from your post that you are not temple worthy and have moved forward in a newfound way.

To clarify from the Master, he said to Isaiah, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” Isaiah 1:18. He has promised that he will remit sin, He can as He has taken them upon Himself. The difficulty is that the pain from sin is so pervasive and so real that as mortals, imperfect beings, many find difficulty finding forgiveness in their hearts for themselves. I know that the Lord can and does forget. In the scores of individuals and couples I have worked with I find that individuals rarely forget the past. I feel the Lord would have us remember much of it so we do not continue to sin. The remarkable piece here is that He will forgive you. I have provided a list of resources for you from the secular as well as the spiritual sources. I recommend you read the materials I have linked to below. The doctrinal talks are helpful in clarifying the issues you mentioned in your post. The learning to forgive is a huge resource on the nature of forgiveness and research done by a well respected therapist, Fred Luskin. His research on the nature of forgiveness is key in supplementing the gospel view from a mental health and healing perspective.

LDS Links

Learning to Forgive