Forgive Yourself

20 Jan

“There is nothing you’ve done God can’t forgive.”  ~ Unknown

As a priest for almost forty years now, I have heard a lot of confessions.  I have heard of struggle and pain.  I have heard of the many ways that people beat themselves up and hate themselves because of sins committed.  The worst that I hear, though, is the absolute unwillingness to forgive oneself.

For some reason, there are some who consider themselves unforgiveable.  They hear the absolution when they go to confession and they believe that God has forgiven them.  However, they cannot or will not forgive themselves and thus bring their sins back to the confessional over and over again.

Who are we to hold on to our sins if God is willing to forgive them?

Forgiveness is essential in order to move on in our lives.  We all know the emotional damage that we have incurred the times we sought the forgiveness of others and they did not forgive us.  We were hurt and embarrassed and we carried our guilt.  That affected our relationship with others.  We also may have known what it has felt like not to forgive others who have wronged us.  When we hang on to unforgiveness, we fester inside.

That is why it is so very important to forgive ourselves.

If we do not forgive ourselves — knowing that God can and does forgive us — we keep the pain and guilt of our sins in the forefront of everything we do.  That affects our relationship with others, with ourselves, and with God.

Let go and let yourself off the hook.  God already has.

FAITH ACTION:  Ask God for the grace and the humility to forgive yourself and let yourself off the hook you’ve placed yourself on.