This is part four in my series on how to forgive yourself. Track back to read more. Today I want to look at two factors that keep you from forgiving yourself.
What are you getting by not forgiving yourself?
One day I was teaching a small group about God’s forgiveness and the question came up about self-forgiveness. A girl said she couldn’t forgive herself. She said, “Remy, I don’t have any trouble believing that God forgives me. I just can’t forgive myself”. I’ve heard this many times. I started to give her my standard answer but then out of the blue a question came to me. I asked her; “What are you getting by not forgiving yourself? In other words, “What benefit do you receive by not forgiving yourself?”
She looked shocked, like she was “busted” or exposed by my question. She paused a minute and said; “If I forgave myself I’d feel the need to change my lifestyle. By not forgiving myself it’s like I have permission to feel sorry for myself and use it to justify using drugs.”
Bingo. The clarity that she got in that moment was amazing. My question caused her to see the truth behind her inability to forgive herself. The truth was; she wasn’t unable to forgive herself. She was unwilling to change her lifestyle and the forgiveness issue was simply a good “cover” or excuse. My question helped her see the true issue and forced her to deal with the question; Do I really want to change?
Since that encounter I often ask that question of people who can’t forgive themselves. The truth is; many times people are “getting” something by not forgiving themselves.
If you are having trouble forgiving yourself could it be that you are receiving a benefit that forgiving yourself would cause you to lose? If you are willing to reflect and be honest you might find the real reason that you have trouble forgiving yourself.
I have two more posts about forgiving yourself. Consider subscribing to this blog so you don’t miss them.
Question: What other benefits do you think people might get from not forgiving themselves? Leave your comment below.