Tuesday, April 10, 2012

It's Time to Forgive Yourself

Have you ever been through or are you going through a period of change? I am. I haven't been updating this blog because the reason for writing had left me. Change isn't easy, and admittedly I allowed it to wear me down. Instead of standing resilient and firm I gave in to the pressure. I say that I gave in because we always have a choice in life. For example, we can go left or we can go right. We can give up or we can keep going. We can determine we're not going to do something or we can give into the temptation. The choices go on and on.

I write this not as a catharsis, but maybe to help someone else. In giving up I made some mistakes. There are issues that come with making a mistake, and one of them is unforgiveness. The unforgiveness of yourself weighs heavy on your heart and mind. It reminds a person of their wrongdoing constantly. Like a scratched CD, by repeating it over and over in your mind, unforgiveness keeps the guilt from the mistake alive and well. You want to move past the mistake but you can't seem to let it die because unforgiveness keeps etching its sad song into your brain with its constant repetitions of, "Why did I quit? Why did I give in? Why did I make that bad choice? Why did I have to make that mistake?"

Guess what? Unforgiveness is not our friend. It is not a humble form of penitence. Instead, unforgiveness blocks progress. It hinders you and me from moving forward in life. For those who read the Bible and believe in the words written therein, recall the story of Judas. (For those who do not believe in the Bible, you may want to skip to the next paragraph.) Judas gave up Jesus for 20 pieces of silver. After understanding his wrong, Judas had a choice: forgive himself or die to the crushing weight of guilt. Judas chose death by hanging himself. Jesus is willing to forgive us our wrongdoing (i.e. sin). If He wasn't, the cross wouldn't be the pivotal point of salvation. Yet, despite Jesus' willingness to forgive us, are we willing to forgive ourselves?

How truthful the following is I do not know, but it is an example of how an unwillingness to forgive yourself works. It is an illustration on how to capture a monkey. First, a hole is made in a coconut or a gourd and the object is attached to a tree with a string. Then peanuts are placed inside of it. Monkeys like peanuts, so the monkey will reach in the coconut or gourd to get them. However, the hole isn't big enough for the monkey to pull the peanuts out with its hand. Not wanting to let the peanuts go, the monkey will hold on to them--sometimes for days. By the time the captors come for the monkey, it is too weak to fight back. It has given up its strength and freedom for a handful of peanuts.

That is how we are when we are unwilling to forgive ourselves. We become so focused on our mistake until we lose our freedom. Our freedom is in the knowledge that even though we made a bad choice, we still have the ability to make a good one. We don't have to continue making bad choices, and it is not required to constantly rehearse a bad choice. An unwillingness to forgive yourself decreases your freedom in life. When you're focused on your mistake, opportunities for progression pass you by. They pass you by because you're stuck thinking, "I made a bad choice once, and the cost for that choice was high. Will I do it again?" Hence, as you continue to replay and relive that mistake due to unforgiveness, your freedom in life is passing you by.

So go ahead. Forgive yourself. Continue to move forward during this time of change. Progress lies ahead, but holding onto unforgiveness will only leave you where you are.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:12, 14-15 KJV)


  1. Amen! You're pointing out some important truths in a very clear and insightful way. Keep on with the good work!

  2. Thank you, Lauren. I think you are a fantastic writer, and your words are encouraging. :) God bless you.