However this week I realized that there is one person I have never been able to fully forgive. There are still moments in my life when I hold this person accountable for every misspoken word, every neglect, and every failure, everything wrong she's ever done. Who is this poor woman? It's me.
Why is it so easy to find it within myself to forgive all those who have wronged me, who have hurt me and yet, I can’t seem to finally and wholeheartedly forgive myself? Am I so wretched a person that it is easier to forgive the whole world, yet not me?
In my intellect, I know that the answer is no. The Bible tells us we are all sinners, equally sinful in the sight of God’s holiness. So why is it so much easier to forgive everyone else's unholiness than to forgive my own? Jesus died on the cross for my sins – for my sinfulness in its entirety which means that there is nothing in me or my past that has not been forgiven and forgotten by God. To hold myself accountable for my sins after they have been forgiven is like saying that Jesus’ sacrifice wasn’t enough. I can’t possibly make the argument that Jesus’ death, Jesus the perfect holy Son of God who gave his life for mine, is somehow insufficient to pay the price for my sin. If the God who loves and created me, redeemed me and is making me a new creation in him has forgiven me, who am I to withhold forgiveness? And yet, I still want to hold myself accountable, to pay for it somehow, someway to make up for my wrongs.
I see no way out of this endless circle of guilt I’ve wrapped myself up in except to give it to God. To forgive myself again and to hand over again to Jesus the unforgiveness, the pride, the self-righteous judgementalism I hold against myself. I hope this time, my heart learns beyond doubt what my head already knows – I am now and always will be a forgiven beloved child of the living God.
About the pictures:
Parkwood Presbyterian Church (May 2011)