“I think that if God forgives us, we must also forgive ourselves. Otherwise, it is almost like we are setting up ourselves as a higher tribunal than Him.” – C.S. Lewis
“If your compassion does not include yourself, than it is not complete.” – Buddha
“as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” – Psalm 103:12
Last week I wrote on forgiveness as it applies to the world and the people around us. What I didn’t address is forgiveness as it applies to oneself.
When we try to forgive others who have wronged us, we think through their actions, try to understand why they did it, recognize that we all make mistakes, and then finally – hopefully – forgive.
When we it something we’ve done wrong, we ask ourselves why we did what we did, we seek the acceptance and forgiveness of others, and then we ask God to forgive us our sins. Then we tell ourselves we will do better next time. These are the good cases – sometimes we just push our wrongdoings aside and try to move forward.
Either way, we missed the part where we take in God’s forgiveness. If He has totally removed our transgressions from us, why do we often hold on to them so tightly? Out of guilt or shame or maybe just ignorance, we carry our heavy burdens into the next chapters of our life, both knowingly and unknowingly.
I read somewhere once that the person you will know longest in your life and spend the most time with is yourself. The writing went on to say you have to get to know this person and learn to love this person or you’re going to live a pretty miserable life.
What it didn’t mention is we also have to forgive that person. If we believe in Christ’s sacrifice and the need to forgive others as He forgives us, we must also forgive us.
I don’t really know where this begins. Maybe it lies first in finding those spaces where we haven’t let go of our mistakes. Then in accepting that we acted as we did because of our humanness and because the lesson had not been fully flushed out. But most importantly, in praying that God will help us to remember the lesson He taught us in that situation, but then live our life free of that weight.
He came so that we may be forgiven. It would be a huge disservice to our God if we do not live that out and help others to do the same.