Seven Truths of Self Forgiveness

When we have a day or week to forget, why don't we?

Sure, it's good to dredge out of it what can be learned, but anything more is burden unnecessary.

But, we inevitably struggle to 'build that bridge' over our still-troubled consciences; somehow, that nagging voice in our heads - the vacuous feeling in our hearts - continues to remind, and condemn. In some ways we can know this as our spiritual nemesis getting one or five up on us.


Forgiving ourselves for the embarrassing mistakes or repetitive failures is somehow reconciling us to the truth - once our best restitutions are made - so that we believe, and continually refer to, that truth. These truths are:

1. We can't rewind time. What's done is done. Stressing won't fix anything.

2. We all make mistakes - most obviously because we lack all the information and we're, at times, affected emotionally.

3. We, most often, are our cruellest judges. Others affected aren't usually consumed by these events as we are. They're consumed more by what's going inside their minds and hearts; it's always different to what we anticipate they're thinking about.

4. We tried our best at the time; the fact bears consideration - we're not always on top of our game. We know nobody's perfect, so why do we place ourselves up against such a lofty and unattainable standard?

5. All our 'sins' are forgivable - our God exists, under the New Covenant regime, to reinforce that condemnation and self-condemnation are crushed by the power of grace. To hold onto such condemnation is to actually disobey God.

6. We are hurt because we love, or we hurt because we need love. These two explain the basis of so many of our actions. Love is acceptance, security, well-being, harmony, the enjoyment of trust and respect. Whenever these are compromised - by us or others - we are sent into a volley of confusion because love is temporarily not ours. We scramble to regain it.

7. We are always trying - sometimes not enough; sometimes too much. Effort is a strange reality; a veritable knife edge. Sitting there on the edge, but without such pressure to cut us, is the place of God's redeeming strength. But when we've fallen short or overblown things via effort, we understand it's a lack of judgment; that's all. Staying safely upon this knife edge is almost impossible.

Self-forgiveness is the great thing God wants us to experience. Why do we spend time and effort forgiving others and yet struggle to forgive ourselves?

Steve Wickham is a Registered Safety Practitioner (BSc, FSIA, RSP[Australia]) and a qualified, unordained Christian minister (GradDipBib&Min). Visit his blog now.

photo credit: markuso
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