Learning to forgive one's self. Facing the worst head on.
A general accepted definition of Forgiveness is: "Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, let’s go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well." There is many a scripture on forgiveness, the most common that captures are hearts is in the Lord's Prayer and the words of our Lord on that last Supper night... “This is my Blood of the covenant which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins".
Forgiveness is readily available for us all. Medical studies have even shown the importance of forgiveness "by embracing forgiveness, you can also embrace peace, hope, gratitude and joy. Consider how forgiveness can lead down the path of Physical, emotional and spiritual well-being." (Mayo Clinic)
There is so much in the forgiveness of others, but I believe the biggest separator for a person and their potential, relationships with loved ones and to God, is the inability to forgive one self. I am not talking about the lie to a friend, the stolen item, the gossip or even argument the caused pain.
I am talking about a young girl who was so lost in the world that she drank a lot while pregnant, ate little and now faces a child with learning disabilities. She has felt the forgiveness of others, the forgiveness of her son, and most of all the forgiveness Christ provided. But still cannot forgive her actions and the results of those actions.
I am talking about the mother that was distracted while driving on the road, has an accident where 2 of her children are killed and she survives.
Or the pain of seeing a friend die from suicide and you know you could have found a way to stop it.
How many of us suffer the lack of strength to forgive ourselves in these grievous situations. There are so many other situations that have been experienced that all the forgiveness available to use is just so far away because of guilt, pain and reminders.
A forgiveness that is so far away from us that it affects how we interact with others, how we see those we love and just cause a wall of shame, despair, anger and loss.
There has to be a way to embrace the forgiveness. Each of us will have our own steps to take to embrace forgiveness. But here are a few steps that may help.
1. The incident occurred - face it straight on, no hiding behind excuses.
2. Realize the incident is something that happened actually not who you. Not then or even now.
3. Once your Mind faces that reality, now let your soul absorb the facts from your mind, recognize the pain you feel, recognize it is not something that will go away, but is something your soul can heal and learn from. Reach out to others in the same situation, reach out to prevent others from the same fate. The best healing for your soul.
4. Embrace you spirit, allow the love and power of the Holy Spirit embrace you and be the balance between your mind and soul and be the strength to help you to forgive yourself. Recognize there is no magic, but work, but know the Holy Spirit will guide you to a place of forgiveness and a growth beyond what has so imbedded your life from forgiveness.
I offer this because I was the mother of the learning disabled boy, and learned from the Mother that survived the death of her two children. May these words bless you and guide to healing and forgives of yourself.