Forgive Yourself

My friend arrived at the airport early for her flight from Toronto to London. She piled her bags on a cart and headed to a coffee shop for lunch. A woman came up behind her and asked for directions. A kind person, my friend tried to help. During the exchange her handbag was snatched from the cart. Her passport, credit cards, cash, everything she needed for her vacation was missing.

Authorities explained that she’d been played. As she’d turned to look at the woman asking for help, another woman had stolen her purse. She felt devastated. Several phone calls later helpful airline staff had her on the plane. “Don’t let this ruin your plans. Go and enjoy yourself,” her husband said. But as she settled into her seat on the plane, a knot of dispair lodged in her chest. How could I be so stupid? Why didn’t I have my purse looped over my shoulder? I must look naive, that’s why these thieves picked on me. This is the story of my life, always getting picked on. Ugly, self-accusing thoughts rolled through her mind.

She leaned back on the headrest. God, help me, she prayed. A thought, quiet but firm, came into her mind – you need to forgive yourself. She prayed again, “I do Lord, I do forgive myself. I recognize that anyone can be taken advantage of.” Immediately, the knot of despair dissipated, relief came.

A stolen purse may rank low on the list of things we need to forgive ourselves for but the despair my friend felt wasn’t much different than the despair we feel over bigger failures. It’s often easier to forgive others than to forgive ourselves. Sometimes it’s not a matter of sins and failures but simply forgiving ourselves for not being more successful, more outgoing, more confident.

Perhaps you need to forgive yourself for some nagging fault or for a bad decision you made. Whatever shortcomings nip at your heels, handle them by getting alone with God and praying a prayer of self-forgiveness.

Lord, I recognize that I’m not superhuman. I’ve made mistakes that have made me angry at myself. I’ve accepted your forgiveness for my sins and today I forgive myself for ________ (name the act).

Those who enter into Christ no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death. (Romans 8:1,2 The Message)

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About rosemccormickbrandon

An award winning personal experience writer, Rose McCormick Brandon is a frequent contributor to faith magazines, devotionals and compilations, including Chicken Soup for the Soul. Rose is the author of Promises of Home: Stories of Canada's British Home Children (2014). One Good Word Makes all the Difference (2013), He Loves Me Not, He Loves Me (2012) and Vanished: What Happened to My Son. She's a frequent contributor to The Testimony, Today's Pentecostal Evangel and other faith magazines in Canada, U.S. and Australia. Rose also writes about Canadian history, specifically the era of Child Immigration from Britain. Read her stories of child immigrants at: http://littleimmigrants.wordpress.com
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4 Responses to Forgive Yourself

  1. Carley says:

    I have come to realize over the years that forgiving others is much easier than forgiving myself. Why are people so hard on themselves? Why do we hold ourselves at much higher standards than we do others? Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense. God has forgiven us. Seems, that means I should be able to forgive myself as easily as I do others; but it is one of my biggest struggles.

    • Hi Carley – you pose a good question – “why do we hold ourselves to a higher standard than we do others?” I also do this – not everyone does – but I’ve improved in recent years. It’s possibly rooted in our personalities – the strive for perfection – then if we’re not perfect, we flay ourselves. Sending a prayer your way that God will teach you something that will make it easier for you to forgive yourself. Hugs, Rose

  2. Thank you for this excellent word today. We do tend to get hung up on past failures and then fear and unbelief set in. I just asked God to forgive me for some past mistakes where I rushed ahead instead of waiting on His still small voice. We are a new creation in Him and that’s where we need to walk everyday – free from condemnation that we often put onto ourselves.

    Peace and blessing to you Rose!
    Marta

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