How do I forgive myself and stop hating myself?

I have always been a believer in Christ—don’t get me wrong we have gone through our rough patches, but even when I am frustrated, I do not doubt his love (although, I have strayed from time to time). My mom died when I was five years old, and by the time I was six, I had a step mom and two step siblings (very Cinderella story). Soon, I was blessed with a new half-brother who, I think, is the smartest and kindest human being in the world. In a lot of ways, I try to look at my mom’s death as a blessing, because it brought me three new siblings, allowed me to figure a lot of things out on my own, I had to grow up faster than other girls my age, and it has brought be closer to Jesus and the fragility and quickness of life. With that being said, over the last four years, I have realized a lot of trauma that has came out of it.

QUICK DISCLAIMER: before I go into my issues, I want you to know I am NOT writing this to put anyone down, because I love these people deeply and I know that everything bad comes from the devil who has picked apart these peoples insecurities. I pray for and with these individuals and will forever be their hype up woman. I am speaking to you about this because I want you to understand my head space, so I am elaborating.

My stepmom, through a place of total insecurity and sin, place three things in my head: I am not beautiful, especially compared my my sister, I am not motherly or nurturing, and I have an annoying personality. These three concepts were subtly put into my head from the age of six and even still to this day. Growing up, I didn’t realize what was going on, until I got out of the house and I started to realize my own beauty and gifts. I still struggle a lot to this day, but it’s a growing process that I hope can help others including my step mom—we are closer now then ever before. 

Because of all of these issues, growing up, I desperately wanted a boyfriend, someone who would make me see my own beauty, just like in the movies—this is obviously such a horrible coping mechanism. Looking back now, by the grace of God, no guy came my way, because I obviously was not in the right headspace. Instead, all of my friends had boys and not a single boy was interested in me, after that, in my 15-year-old-head, this just proved that everything my step mom said about me was correct. I tried so hard to believe that Jesus made me exactly how he wanted me and that I was of God’s beautiful and unique creation, but the world kept slapping me in the face. With this, most of my friends started having sex, and I wanted to wait until marriage. It is easy to wait until marriage when no one wants you, and that is the gist of how my own insecurities made me feel along with my friends’ actions. My friends would all set each other up on dates, but not me, and this was unanimous through both high school and college. It only got worse when I heard my friends laughing about someone else who was a virgin, then when I called them out because it was basically like they were making fun of me, they apologized but it did not make it hurt any less. At one point, my step mom asked me if I was gay because I wasn’t dating anyone, and even made fun of me because I was 20 and hadn’t slept with a boy or even had my first kiss. Another one of my friends straight up told me that no boy would ever accept me for the way that I am, and we are getting past the age where someone will be willing to teach you anything—this is the only friend who I no longer talk to but I do pray for them and my heart to soften over this. Over the years, they all shared their boy stories, and I was completely left out and clueless. I even had a doctor, after I answered no I am not sexually active and no I have never had sex, look at me with complete shock and she then gave me a sex talk like I was a five year old. 

Then one night, I caught a boys attention. I had a few sketchy vibes about him, but when I talked to my friends about it, their main response was “well you don’t really have any dating experience so what do you know...” After talking to this boy off an on for a year, not dating him, I got drunk one night, and I had sex with him. We never talked to each other again, and after a few weeks, I told my friends about it and how upset I was. They tried to be their for me, but they are limited when it comes to emotions, and basically said “well what did you expect to happen, that’s the way life works”...THIS IS NOT HOW IT IS SUPPOSED TO WORK. It has been nine months since this happened, and I have never felt so alone. This is truly the biggest regret of my life, and I pray for forgiveness and strength to move past this daily. I read my Bible every day, pray constantly, listen to worship music, and listen to Bible podcasts. It seems like in the past five months, everything that I have listened to is about purity and waiting for marriage, and I have even met a few guys who are still virgins. When they tell people about this fact, they are told “wow that is amazing” and “good for you” and I am truly so happy for them, but I am so angry with society because this was not the response I received, and I can never go back to being a virgin. This is something I will never be able to give to my husband, and there is nothing that can change this fact, not even God, he can forgive me but it still doesn’t change the facts. Above being angry with society, I am angry with myself.  

I am angry for not being strong enough in my faith. I am angry for listening to my friends above God’s word. Believe me when I say, my friends are truly wonderful and kind people, this is only one light that you are hearing about them in, and like me and the world, they are also broken people. Because of the brokenness, I should have know better. I even find myself angry because I didn’t grow up with a mom who was for me, and then I get angry at myself for being angry about that situation because there are blessing that come from that. At the end of the day, this is my life, and I have made my choices—no one else is to blame other then myself, and my lack of faith. I just do not know how to heal and move on. 

I usually find peace when in God’s word or when listening to podcasts about him or worship music. However, now from a one time decision, every time purity is preached, I feel disgusting, used up, unlovable, and like this one mistake is going to define me for the rest of my life. I KNOW JESUS LOVES AND FORGIVES ALL, he literally DIED FOR ME!!! I use to find such peace in this thought, but for some reason, when purity is brought up forgiveness never seems to enter into the conversation. IF forgiveness is brought up, it is always in the context of someone who didn’t know God before they made this bad decision, it is never preached from the perspective of someone who knew what God said and went against it anyway. Because I knew I was going against God’s word, but I had sex anyways. I knew my friends were preaching for a worldly view, but I listened to them anyways. I knew that I was doing the wrongs, and I have no one to blame but myself. For the last five months, my mind has been going to some pretty dark areas and I am in desperate need of some biblical advice. 

I know God has forgiven me, and he can make everything beautiful. I know that all of my friends who have had sex, deserve nothing but love and kindness as they move forward and I have no judgement toward them for anything that have done. I know that the world is a broken place, and people make mistakes. It seems like every time I choose love and forgiveness toward someone who has hurt me, I do forgive them and love them!! However, I am now at the point where I hate myself for going against God’s word when it comes to purity, and it seems like the only person who I cannot forgive is me and the only person who I cannot love is me. 

I’m sure this self hatred comes from some origin of sin which just makes me even more disgusted with how I am reacting to this horrific thing that I have done. If God has forgiven me, then why am I even questioning or not forgiving myself? Isn’t this just me, yet again another way that I am listening to the world over listening to his word? I was hoping that time with a lot of prayer could heal, but I just feel worse and worse the more time that goes on. I am pleading with you to give me anything new that I can be doing different because I am reading my Bible daily, meditating is prayer daily, reaching out to my Christian friends to pray for me, and trying to surround myself with God in the music and podcasts. Instead of feeling freed by God’s grace, I am at the lowest place I have ever felt. I do believe God can heal anything, but I feel more and more injured everyday.

I appreciate you taking the time to read this, and I eagerly await your advice, 
Asked by C

Forgiving ourselves is honestly the hardest thing to do.  We already know that God forgives us, but when it comes to forgiving ourselves, well that is a whole other story.  According to Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and have come short of the Glory of God.  Even Paul who suffered great persecution for Christ, asked the question, "Why do I do the things I don't want to do, and the things I should do, I don't do?"  I know this is probably not what you want to hear, or you have already heard it.  I know your pain and the guilt you are feeling and so does Jesus.  Satan knows your weaknesses and he will use them against you in every way possible.  He will beat you with your guilt if you allow him to.  You are MADE in Christ's image therefore you are beautiful, inside and out.  When you repented for what you did, you made ALL things new.  Do you believe God tells the truth? Do you believe in his word?  From what I read, I would have to say, Yes you do, therefore according to God's word in 2Corinthians 5:17 If then any be in Christ a new creature, the old things are passed away, behold all things are made new. In Psalms 103:12 it tells us that he has removed our transgressions from us as far as the east is from the west.  The problem is that you are looking at yourself carnally and not spiritually.  Satan is reminding you of your sin.  Before you gave up your virginity however you were already looking down on yourself and wanting what others had.  Sister,  sin is sin to God.   If your coveting you are sinning. If you are lying you are sinning.  Don't let Satan tell you that you will never be able to give your husband your virginity. You are a new creature in Christ, ALL old things have passed away, behold the NEW woman.  Walk-in righteousness.  Walk in the spirit and rebuke Satan and call him the LIAR that he is.  

When I was a little girl, I asked my pastor why is it when I try to do good, bad things happen? He asked me by saying "When you go hunting with your dad and you shoot 2 pheasants, 1 is dead and 1 is wounded, which one do you go after first?"  I said, The wounded one.  He said, "Why is that?"  I said, "Because he is still able to get away and the dead one isn't going anywhere."  My pastor then said, "That is exactly what Satan does.  If you are already dead (he has you) then he does not need to mess with you, but if you are trying to serve God (wounded) then he is going to mess with you because he doesn't want you serving God. When this happens Cysie (nickname) you need to look up and say WELL PRAISE GOD!  I MUST BE DOING SOMETHING RIGHT!"  Satan wants you because he knows God has a MIGHTY plan for you.  Do not be like Peter when he took his eyes off Jesus while walking on the water.  Keep your eyes on Jesus and you will not sink, he will walk you through this.  I have a song for you that I feel God would like you to listen to.  It's by Carrollton "Tell Me."  I hope this helps and in the meantime, I will pray for you, my sister.  God Bless You.