My friend and long-time prayer partner, Enis, 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, she 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 gone.
Authorities explained that she’d been played. As she 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 Enis settled into her seat on the plane, a knot of despair 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.
Enis was overcome with self-hatred. She prayed, God, help me. Somewhere over the Atlantic, this 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 self-accusing thoughts stopped, her shame disintegrated..
Is something in your life causing you anguish? Do you feel taken advantage of by others but blame yourself for it?
Perhaps God is telling you what he told my friend – Forgive yourself. Say the same kind things to yourself that you would say to others in a similar situation.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness
We are loved by Someone who understands us, Someone who forgives us. Therefore, we can love and forgive ourselves.