We hear much about forgiving others, and we should. Forgiveness is showing kindness and compassion to others, but it does more for those who forgive than those who need to be forgiven. One person we usually forget to forgive is ourselves.
It is natural to be harder on ourselves than others. We feel that we have to earn forgiveness or that we must pay, so we continue to punish ourselves. Sometimes, we continue to punish ourselves even after we ask God for forgiveness. God is always willing to forgive us. It is our refusal to accept this “gift” from Him that does not allow us to forgive ourselves.
Think about your situation and how it would sound coming from someone else. How would you advise them? More than likely, you would tell that person not to be so hard on themselves. That we all make mistakes and we all can be forgiven. This would be very good advice and is good enough to hear for yourself.
Forgiveness has been recognized by the medical community to have health benefits. The benefits are not just spiritual. The Mayo Clinic reports that forgiveness can lead to: lower blood pressure, less stress, less hostility, fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety, healthier relationships, and greater psychological well-being.
So, do not let your unforgiveness of yourself prevent you from accepting the blessings and gifts that God offers you each and every day. Continue to forgive others but remember to forgive yourself. Forgiveness is the essential element that frees you from your own private prison. Allow yourself the freedom to forgive yourself, accept God’s forgiveness and to take action, if at all possible, to repair the harm. It is not often possible to make amends. You cannot go back in time or erase words that were said. You cannot make amends for those who are no longer with us. Ask God for forgiveness, accept it and move on. None of us is perfect and we never will be. We can only try our best.
If you are harboring any unforgiveness in yourself or others, I hope that you will find the freedom that awaits you, as well as all the benefits that come with it by learning to forgive.