Warning the following content is overwhelmingly good news. Proceed with caution.
To give this message some context for a long time I’ve had random moments where an event from the past, recent or otherwise, will just bubble up from some dark corner and come to the forefront. I would find myself reliving an embarrassing moment or dumb, hurtful statement spoken or decision made. The feelings that accompanied that experience would hit anew, fresh as if it were a ten-second old incident. It would be a very random occurrence too, doing some mindless task like washing the dishes or taking out the trash. I believe that’s evidence of undealt with baggage. Maybe it’s not, but below is an advisory antidote.
Dr Edwin Louis Cole, the late pioneer of the men movement in the USA, popularised a biblical truism which will be the basis of this, our conclusion in the Vulnerability series.
“The sins you forgive are released, and the sins you don’t forgive are retained in your life. If you forgive, you release. By not forgiving, you retain. So simple. So profound. So divine. So true.”
I’ve known that phrase for a while. I know for a fact I haven’t applied it consistently but there has been some concerted effort on my part. One area I totally spaced out on was on the aspect of self-forgiveness. The very concept eluded me for its sheer alienness. “Forgive… myself? What drugs are you on gancho?” From that Christian worldview – where the wonderful, too-good-to-be-true news of Jesus paying the ultimate price and taking the punishment for my own wrongdoing so I can be reconciled with the Father by believing in Him – it was more than a little difficult to ingrain the idea of the wrong party being the one to also dole out forgiveness.
“I did the wrong but I forgive you.” It sounds absolutely absurd – except it isn’t. If you’ve been following this blog for a while you’ve probably encountered the powerful speech tool “I am”. If not you’ll want to check it out here: Self-Esteem Building Hacks
We’ve talked about being vulnerable with others and being real. Can we take that step to be real with ourselves too?
Ok, so maybe it’s starting to make sense. Maybe I can buy into forgiving myself for foolish decisions I’ve made in the past, releasing the thing that I’ve actively tried to bury deep in my heart… but, how? How do I do that? I’ll take a leaf from a page a friend of mine shared with me just this Friday. It sounded corny. I almost didn’t do it. Almost – but it worked for me. I trust it will for you too.
Look yourself in the mirror.
Hold your stomach.
Take a deep breath.
Say your name aloud, affirm that life is a journey where you make mistakes and learn from them.
Say I forgive you *insert your name here* for the bad decisions you made.
Now it’s time to stand up and walk.
And then address the thought of regret.
Whenever it jumps up again say scripture. (If you don’t know any appropriate one I would suggest looking up “verses about forgiveness and being made new”)
That’s it. You can breathe out now and walk tall and free. Thanks for reading. We’ll be jumping into habit formation on Thursday.
Image Source: Heart Shaped Lock