Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What I Think About: Forgiving Yourself

Watch this video. Read the lyrics.

Have you ever just messed up?  I mean ROYALLY messed up?  The kind of messed up that will bring you to tears in thirty years when you think about it?  The kind of messed up that makes you seriously contemplate enrolling in science courses in hopes of inventing a time machine?  The kind of messed up that hurt someone? The kind of messed up that leaves you feeling totally broken?

I really messed up.  When I called my sister to confess she loved and supported me.  She said, "There is nothing you can do that can make me not love you.  Of course, I'm related by blood so that covers it."

To which I replied the most faithless words I've ever spoken: "Blood doesn't cover everything."

The second I said it I audibly gasped.  I was horrified that I said it.  I was more horrified that in many ways, I believed it about myself.  Deep inside of me an aching mistake made me believe that there are some sins that blood doesn't cover.

I know this is NOT true but have you ever stood in that place where you just FELT that it was true?  That you were standing in a shadow that the Son couldn't redeem.

If you have been there, tell me how and when do you forgive yourself?  I mean, forgiveness (even self-forgiveness) is key to grace and mercy.  But is there a time period where you should "feel" the effects of your sin?  How long should you mourn your actions before you seek to forgive them?  Off the cuff it feels like the answer is "you shouldn't drag yourself through the mud" but right now it just feels like the person I've hurt deserves to see me struggle and mourn over my wrongdoing.  Not because such lamentations will change the deed but because it will help that person know that I really feel the affects of my actions.  That I feel the pain.  That I am sorry.  Gut-wrenchingly sorry.

So when do you forgive yourself?

And of course the bigger issues is how?

I know I will never forget this incident.  I will play and re-play it in some small fashion (even if it is just a, "how could I be so stupid?!) several times a year.  How can I use this circumstance to remind me of all the ways that I need Jesus without consistently asking, begging, pleading for mercies I've already been given?  How can I use this to spur me on in a way that makes me a better person but helps the one I've hurt know that I haven't just forgotten and moved on?

Where is the balance between the burden of regret over sins committed and the mercy of peace from blood that cleanses?

What I think is that I need to learn to forgive myself.  Your wisdom is greatly appreciated.  Your prayers more so.

Thank you to Shell for letting me Pour My Heart Out every Wednesday


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. It is far easier to forgive others than it is to forgive yourself. I have mistakes that still haunt me. I say haunt, because that's what they are...they are echos of the mistakes I have made. Reminders to do a better job next time.
    Over time the sting of the words you wish you could take back will lessen. I know this from personal experience.

    I'm not sure if my words are helpful. I hope they are at least comforting.

  3. When you find out how, please share. Forgiving yourself is the hardest thing. Somehow we have to but I haven't figured it out yet. (hugs)

  4. That song is so powerful.

    I get it, though- I have a hard time forgiving myself. And I do figure that if all I do is say sorry and then shrug something off, I will seem insincere.

    It's a process. I don't think there is a time put on it, just something that is a process.

  5. Ask Jesus for help. That's what a priest told me. "Jesus, please help me to forgive myself, to be deliberate in that effort and to be merciful in embracing Your grace."

  6. I agree with everyone that forgiving yourself is the hardest thing to do. And I also agree that one of the ways to try is through our faith. Good luck to you - I'll be thinking about you!

  7. I think the key is to realize that forgive will not mean forget and that is okay. When we get to where it doesn't drag us down or make us filled with sorrow then we have forgiven. I have found if I use that sorrow and guilt for good- to turn it into compassion for others it helps. It is hard but it is possible. And if we do not forgive it is like saying the atonement is good for everyone else but my mistake was too great for it to cover me.


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