As we think together about how hard it can be to forgive ourselves, I took a chance to ask some co-workers, some of whom just happen to be counselors, why they think so many of us continue to beat ourselves up for past mistakes. I thought you might be interested in reading a summary of some quick notes I grabbed:
1. We all seem to have a need to atone or suffer to pay for the wrongs we’ve done.
2. Sometimes we find it hard to believe we could have done such awful things… or that we could be that bad. Yet, in the truth we see why we really do need the forgiveness and mercy of God.
3. There is a time for legitimate grief that is necessary to make important changes in our life. But we have to make sure that such healthy sorrow does not turn into the kind of shame that becomes our excuse for not moving on.
4. Just as importantly we need to make sure that we don’t fall into the trap of defining ourselves in terms of our wrongs rather than in terms of what God can do in and through us.
5. Maybe some of us say we find it easier to believe God has forgiven us– without really knowing what we mean– or what it could mean if we really did accept fully the forgiveness of God.
6. Some of us let our shame shut out the love that God has for us.
7. And let’s not forget that we do have a real enemy that wants us to believe the lie that our past failures have made it impossible for us to move ahead.
I think there’s a lot here to think about, as there also is in the comments you are making. Thanks for sharing the journey.