The following is a method that has helped many people.
One of life’s biggest and seemingly insurmountable barriers to freedom and joy is forgiving yourself.
Martin Luther King, Jr. made this statement about forgiveness:
“One who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.”
Several biblical verses deal with forgiveness. I feel that Mark 11:25, Matthew 6:14-15 and Colossians 3:13 emphasize the importance of forgiving everyone and that includes ourselves.
Mark 11:25 “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
Matthew 6:14-15 14 “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Colossians 3:13 “ Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”
The message is that we must forgive ourselves as well as others.
Several years ago I was in communication with a psychologist who had many clients with severe health problems. His observation and that of numerous other professionals was that many severe diseases of body, mind and spirit can originate from a strong emotional event.
Nearly everyone needing forgiveness was carrying guilt, fear, failure or other emotional scar from that event. Until a person forgives themselves they are incapable of healing and living a joyful and free life.
The following is an exercise to help you forgive yourself.
- You would write a letter from the person that you are today to the person you were at the time of the emotional event.
- You would express understanding of the situation and what part you experienced or played in the event.
- As clearly and specifically as you can describe what you did or didn’t do as part of the event.
- Explain that you made your decision(s) based on your perception at that time.
- State that you are not a bad person and that what happened does represent who you really are.
- Also acknowledge that you are a good person, created by God.
- Write down the emotional pain you have been carrying.
- Forgive and release your emotional trauma (guilt, fear, failure or whatever you need to release) and give thanks to God for His forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
- Allow the Holy Spirit to release your burdens and help restore you to the joyful wholeness of God’s creation.
Re-read the letter daily until you accept your forgiveness.
For Your Faithful and Fruitful Discipleship,