Friday, August 27, 2010

Five Aspects of Forgiveness – Part 3 – Forgiving Oneself

“Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;

do not fret – it only leads to evil.”

~Psalm 37:8 (NIV).

Anger in grief is a sign of possibly many different things. Ironically, however, anger that doesn’t morph with time, not being resolved, can often be a sign that the person is angry deeper down and unforgiving toward themselves.

“I think you can forgive a little, you can forgive all the way or you cannot forgive at all.”

~Lynn McGuinn.

Forgiving a little is no answer to us personally. It’s a sick joke where pretence holds sway and we ‘think’ we’ve done something which we clearly haven’t.

Forgiveness is clearly an all-or-nothing type of thing; we have to keep going through to the achievement of the completeness of it. Literally, we don’t know where it might end.

God’s forgiveness is hamstrung if we cannot forgive ourselves. Indeed, we cannot actually receive the full weight of God’s eternally-intended forgiveness—that lightness of soul and joy of spirit—if we cannot resolve within ourselves the things we’re angry toward ourselves over.

Moving On

Most of us are highly moral people. We don’t pull the wool over our own eyes. Our inner sense of integrity shields us from the ‘easy way’ when so often to go the easy way—so far as self-forgiveness is concerned—would be a far wiser thing to do.

Just how does a person ‘move on’ when there are things they did, things that cannot now ever be changed, that were personally despicable?

It begins here. We all make these sorts of mistakes. We make thousands of them. Despite this we need to find a way of moving on through, not being burdened by the facts of our sheer human nature.

In the Head...

If we’re really serious about moving on we will need to understand within our minds—taking intellectual stock—that everyone makes mistakes and everyone betrays other people. Our personal value-set might despise that about humanity; but we’re best accepting we’re fallible creatures. God does not hold us to a standard we can’t attain.

As human beings we cannot help but make mistakes and occasionally hurt people. This is precisely why we need God’s forgiveness. Through God’s forgiveness we’re able to find within ourselves the tools and means of ‘repairing’ our transgressions.

In the heart...

Once we’ve acknowledged the fact of forgiveness in our mind we can then begin to work on ‘feeling’ such forgiveness... this is the experience of peace and balance returning (or entering for the first time in living memory for some).

This experience is received—we can’t make it happen. It happens when it happens, but our efforts to receive must be there.

Neither of these ‘head’ and ‘heart’ journeys is easy; they will generally both take more time than we might be comfortable with. It’s a process.

Moving on in life, as a process, is a healthy life-skill for us all to learn and master.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

Acknowledgement: A paper from from the motion picture, The Power of Forgiveness.

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