31 March, 2013

Forgive myself

Forgiving myself is something that's been on my mind in recent weeks. I've wanted to write about it, but haven't had the words. I still don't. But seeing as we're focussed this weekend on Christ's death and subsequent resurrection: all for the purpose of giving us forgiveness, I thought it was appropriate to explore this issue a little.

Here's my admission: I have trouble forgiving myself for things I do that hurt others.

For as long as I remember, I've trusted in God to forgive me of my sins. I've trusted that Christ's death on the cross paid all my debt to God for the wrong things I've done and for the right things I haven't done.

Why then, do I hold onto my own wrongs, like I need to punish myself or something? Something I read earlier this year suggested it could be related to things you learnt as a child, about how apologies were approached in your childhood. Maybe . . . but I'm not laying any blame.

I've just done a quick Google search and found a good article on self-forgiveness.

Here are some quotes and my comments:
If you do not forgive yourself of past sins, it is a form of pride. Whenever we enact a different set of rules, a higher set of standards for ourself over others, that is pride. When we can find it within ourself to forgive others, but not ourselves, we are saying that we are less capable of making a poor decision than others. We are somehow more intuitive, wiser, more insightful, more careful than others, and therefore, we are without excuse and should not forgive ourselves. When we reject the forgiveness extended to us by God and others, when we refuse to forgive ourselves, what we are doing is setting ourselves above others and that is pride! 
Well, that makes sense. I'm guilty of pride. The last sentence does highlight another problem, however. That it is more difficult to forgive myself when I don't receive forgiveness from the other person. But perhaps not forgiving myself is a form of rejecting God's forgiveness of myself?
To continue to rehearse in our thoughts the events of our transgression, opposes Philippians 4:8 which tells us to dwell on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable.
Yes, I understand that. It's hard, though, to control those nasty thoughts. I had an period in my life just over two years ago that plagued me for months, a time where my mistakes haunted me. It still does feature in my thoughts from time to time. And the consequences of those mistakes and subsequent actions and reactions from a couple of other people still haunt me. It's hard to forget. Although I don't dwell on them as much as I used to, I still struggle from time to time.

There is a prayer at the end of the above mentioned post, here's a portion of it:
Because Jesus died for my sins, I choose to forgive myself--to no longer punish myself and be angry with myself. I forgive myself for letting this hurt control me and for hurting others out of my hurt. I repent of this behavior and my attitude. I ask for Your forgiveness and healing.

I suspect this will be a life-long struggle, but now it is out in the open (that I see how much of a pride issue it is), I'm hoping that I can move faster to forgive myself than I have in the past.

I'm interested in your thoughts. Have you struggled with this? How have you dealt with it?

1 comment:

Judie said...

Great post, Wendy.
No, I don't have much trouble with self-forgiveness - I'm far more likely to excuse myself when I should be asking forgiveness.
Thankfully, I find excuses for others, too, so I find it not-too-hard to forgive them. I think.
Maybe I'm just unobservent!