There’s an area of forgiveness we overlook. We know the Bible tells us to forgive one another so we tend to focus on that, but what about forgiving yourself? I think that being able to forgive yourself is just as important as forgiving somebody else after all, what you are really doing is forgiving a soul and you too are a soul.Being able to forgive yourself is just as important as forgiving others. Click To Tweet
But whilst as we saw last week, forgiving someone else can be hard, forgiving yourself can be that bit more difficult to achieve.
The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” Mark 12: 31, NLT
Love your neighbour as you love yourself. That word as means in the same way, we are called to love our neighbours in the same way we love ourselves. When we struggle to forgive others it’s generally because there is something within us that we need to deal with and let go of – but I’m rushing ahead of myself.We struggle to forgive others when there is something we need to deal with ourselves. Click To Tweet
The word forgive in Hebrew is calach, which means to pardon (verb), it literally means to cancel and/or to release. I once asked God, what are we releasing? And He showed me that it is the record of wrongs we have written in our hearts, that long list of failures, IOUs, debts and offences we have compiled and stored deep within us over the years. Those are the things we are called to release, but we don’t just store what other people have done against us, no…. if that wasn’t hard enough we store all the ways which we have wronged ourselves, hurt ourselves, failed ourselves and allowed other people to hurt us and more. We store all the things we feel about ourselves but our conscious demands we never let see the light of day, all our insecurities, fears and shortcomings and we hold on to them.
Today I realised I needed to forgive myself. It’s not easy living with a chronic illness and I have thought some terrible things against myself, wanting yes I admit to hurt myself to finally make the pain cease. I have wished that I was anyone but me, wished that I could go back in time and do things differently so I wouldn’t have taken the route that led me here. I have embraced healing using food, natural medicine, stress management etc with the hope that something would change only to become frustrated with myself because I wasn’t disciplined enough or I wasn’t doing something right. I have blamed God for the way I feel and knowing that doing so was futile turned that anger, hurt and betrayal inwards. I have hurt myself even more than I realise.
But there is forgiveness. There is always the opportunity to wipe the slate clean, get on right terms with ourselves and start again. Forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for the things you did and for the things you didn’t do. For the things you said and for the things you should have said but didn’t.
Forgive yourself and release what you have been holding inside. Let go of that long list of shoulda, coulda, wouldas etc and be free.
Not many people talk about forgiving yourself, I know nobody told me or really taught me how to forgive let alone forgive myself. But there are HUGE implications for holding on to unforgiveness, and unforgiveness towards your own soul is probably one of the most dangerous forms of unforgiveness because it’s so deeply hidden. I think a sign of needing to forgive yourself are erratic emotions, denial or very negative emotions such as anger, those emotions are often directed at other people who are close to us who we hold to blame at some level for something that has happened to us but peel back the layers and the fingers point straight back to you.
It must be really heavy to carry the weight of that unforgiveness so deep in your heart, that’s why Yeshua (Jesus) told us to forgive from our hearts. We can’t pretend to forgive, we can’t surface forgive, we have to forgive from the depths of our being. We open the doors of our soul and let the pain go.
I know people who have so much unforgiveness that it has made them sick, lots of research suggests that unforgiveness actually causes arthritis and I think in particular rheumatoid arthritis! But my experience with these people tell me that a lot of that unforgiveness is about how they feel about themselves, if they were to forgive someone else for their offence towards them they wouldn’t be able to forgive themselves. They are actually at war within, a part of them knows they should forgive and wants to whilst the other part says no and digs in their heals eating them up from within.
The ability to forgive ourselves lies in acceptance, accepting that we are human, frail, imperfect, foolish, weak – we will make mistakes, we will fail, we are not God. It is the simple recognition of our own human frailties which enables us to forgive others who have wronged us, after all, what really makes them different to us? Yes, they may have hurt us, wronged us, even damaged us – but likewise we have done to ourselves.
How much do you love yourself? We all quote John 10:10 – abundance of life, fullness of life but how much do you really want to embrace the fullness of life that the Messiah died on the cross to give to you?
Then forgive yourself, accept that you are imperfect, wipe the slate clean and start again.