Forgiveness is a Personal Choice


The only person you have control over is yourself. The only attitude you can control is your own. We can’t control what other people do, how they act, or what they feel. We can only make choices for ourselves.

For instance, Paul knew his story was less than perfect.

Before his conversion, he persecuted Christians! But he didn’t let the sins of the past stop him from becoming a mighty Christ-follower. He received the title of apostle because he wasn’t afraid to truly let God transform him. He gave his weaknesses to God and became a new man. The former enemy of Christians became one of the most influential leaders of the early church.

For I am the least of all the apostles. In fact, I’m not even worthy to be called an apostle after the way I persecuted God’s church. But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me — and not without results (1 Corinthians 15:9-10, NLT).

When we beat ourselves over the head about our shortcomings, mistakes, and even what we assume to be failures, remember all those imperfect people who made it into the “Hall of Faith.” Remember those who have gone before us.

  • Peter denied Jesus three times.
  • Abraham slept with his servant.
  • Paul persecuted Christians.
  • Jonah ran away from God’s call.

You’ve made mistakes.

So have I.

But we can move forward.

Christ can transform you and me — just like He transformed Paul.

Proverbs 26:11 says that “As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.” Don’t be a fool, caught forever in the trap of the same old mistakes. You might be weak. You might be humble. But with the power of God within you, you can choose a new life. Just look what happened to those Bible characters.

  • Peter became the rock on which Christ build his church.
  • Abraham became the father of many nations.
  • Paul became a great missionary and wrote many of the New Testament epistles.
  • Jonah went to Nineveh and helped save the city from destruction.

What’s the similarity between these men? They all had a choice, and they chose obedience.

Remember, the only person you have control over is yourself.

Sometimes God uses sin to force us to start over. Sometimes our sufferings have nothing to do with you and everything to do with others’ actions.

Ask God to help you forgive those around you who may have hurt you without realizing it. Ask God for the same measure of grace to use on yourself for being less than perfect.

God cares about you.

Stop comparing yourself to others.

God loves you because He created you and there is no one else like you.

Don’t waste his grace today.


This article was adapted from Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me. © 2013 Harvest House Publishers. If you would like to know more about how to forgive others including yourself, please feel free to check out Renee Fisher’s new book on Amazon. Also, enter below for a chance to win a copy.

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Renee Fisher is an adoring wife to Marc and mom to their pit bull named Star. She is a spirited speaker and author of five books, including Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me (Harvest House, 2013). Renee is the founder of, and loves nothing more than to spur others forward. She is on the Advisory Board for ChristianMingle, creator of Quarter Life Conference, and a Biola University graduate. Renee lives in CA and loves running on sunny days. A Dream Coach, she loves connecting with new people daily. Connect at

  • I would love to win this book! It seounds like it is definitely something that I need to read! Forgiveness is a hard thing to learn.

    • Thanks for sharing Tiffany! Hope forgiveness gets a little easier for you :)

  • Samantha H.

    I still think there are areas of unforgiveness in my heart and I could use the tips in this book.

    • Samantha, I hope God shows you those areas and helps you so you don’t have to do all the work :)

  • Erin

    I have so much trouble forgiving myself. I would love to win a copy!

  • Courtney

    Renee, I would definitely benefit from reading your book. Forgiveness is a touchy subject for me! I have been holding on to something for 20 years now. I love my father with all my heart, but I need to forgive him. In the past two weeks he was rushed to the hospital twice. It really opened my eyes that it is time to let it go. He probably has no idea that I’m holding on to this hurt. It all started when I was 6 months. My father cheated on my mother and they separated. I grew up in a single mother home. I watch my mother blame herself for not being a good wife and being the cause of my father’s infidelity. I have this same reckless insecurity in my own marriage and other close relationship. Although my husband is as close to perfect as it gets, I still take some of the past out on him.
    My mother passed away when I was 11 from cancer. Instead of my father being there in her last days, he had a child with the woman he had an affair with. It broke my heart that my father was not in my life, but has been the perfect father to my little brother. I never held anything against my little brother because he was just the product of adults behaving badly. Growing up my father spent all his time with his “new” family. In a sense, I felt like an orphan. I turn to guys trying to find that love I was missing from my father. I got confused with sex equating to love and allowed myself to be used because I wanted a man to love me so badly. All along I had someone, God. When I turned to God, life became so much better. He even blessed me with my wonderful husband. I try so hard to move past it, but I find myself wallowing in hurt. I don’t want to ruin my marriage and the rest of my life holding on to my past. I want to tell my dad how I feel and I forgive him, but how? Will he even understand why I’m forgiving him? And most of all I need to truly forgive myself because I still hold on to my bad behavior in search of love before finding God.

    • Courtney, wow thanks for sharing. I have GREAT FAITH in you (Romans 8:28). May God continue to encourage you and help you heal (and forgive)!

  • Sam

    Thus books sounds awesome and I would love to read it and then lend it to others to bless them too

  • Gomez

    As a three years old I was abandoned my mother, I was ten or eleven years when she came back to reclaim me. She was abusive as I grew up. I hated her for leaving me as a toddler n I became very rebellion towards her. As a teenager she used to tell me that she should’ve choked me to death n she would tell me she hated me. I hated her so much that she would tell me as an adult that she could sense my hatred towards her. To make a long story, short. Jesus found me in fetal position n He told me He loved me. What do I do? I through that love back to Him. When He asked me to forgive my mom, I told Him that He didn’t understand what she had done to me. I fought Jesus tooth n nail trying to make Him understand that I couldn’t forgive her. She had said very painful n hurtful things to me n it was very hard to forgive her, but I finally did. Mom just past away August 3, 2013 n I can actually say that I loved her. What FORGIVENESS can do, just by letting go n letting God. My mom accepted Jesus as her Lord n Savior and I know that she’s in heaven with Jesus in her glorified body.
    Thank you for letting me share in your blog. Ain’t GOD good? And all I had was forgive her. I love you mom!

    • Gomez, thanks for sharing the painful story of your mom. So glad that God helped you and her forgive one another :)

  • Jennifer Crewe

    I would love to win this book as I lead a Senior Ladies Group at my church and there are some there that struggle with unforgiveness even after many years. I just know this book would give me much material to share with them.

    • That’s awesome, thanks for sharing Jennifer!

  • Shannon

    Forgiving others who have wronged us is something that my husband and I are currently dealing with as we find ourselves in a season of unemployment.

    • I’m sorry to hear that Shannon. I hope the Lord continues to lead and guide as well as provide!!

  • Esther

    Forgiveness is such a hard lesson yet so fundamental to the truth of the Gospel!

  • Becca Hamilton

    I think this book is just what I need to read right now. I have the hardest time forgiving myself and realize that it is necessary for me to move on in life. I believe this book will encourage me to do just that. I would love to win a copy.

  • We have a winner! Congrats to Jacqueline G.!

    • Jacqueline

      Thank you so much! I am very excited to read this book! And as Sam mentioned, I too will lend this book to others so they can benefit from it as well!

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Forgiveness is a Personal Choice

by Renee Fisher time to read: 2 min