“Many promising reconciliations have broken down because, while both parties came prepared to forgive, neither party came prepared to be forgiven.” – Charles Williams
The gesture of forgiving someone else is often referred to as “extending the Olive branch.” How peaceful is that imagery? The phrase conjures a picture of biblically attired individuals, stepping forward in dusty, sandaled feet and stretching out a hand to offer and receive a leafy twig in reconciliation.
Self-forgiveness doesn’t feel like that at all to me. When it comes to forgiving myself, it’s not a peace-summit olive branch that comes to mind. It’s more like a flag raised on a bloody battlefield.
Part of the difficulty is that as long as I carry guilt, I can trick myself into feeling like I’m paying back some of the debt that I drove up in my sin.
That’s why grace is so mind-blowing a concept…it is undeserved, given by God in love.
No martyrdom required.
The other part is that I forget that unforgiveness is a weapon of warfare. Self-condemnation is my using the enemy’s bullets and firing at my own spirit. How long I suffer is up to me….the enemy will keep engaging in that battle until I surrender my sins at the cross and leave them there. At the cross…where the war has already been won.
Regret for bad choices is healthy; it keeps me from repeating the past. But hauling around self-condemnation and accepting it as collateral damage is not what Christ came to earth and died for. Like many wars, He fought for freedom – but on the ultimate level.
Good vs. evil. Life vs. death.
So, today – I am choosing to forgive myself.
And by doing so, I am choosing to drop an atomic bomb on the devil’s ammunition storehouse, so that he cannot use my past against me anymore and call it “friendly fire”. A dusty, barefoot soldier raising a flag red with the blood of Christ, even though I don’t deserve to even carry it.
It feels like shock and awe.
It feels like victory.
8 thoughts on “The Shock and Awe of Forgiving Yourself”
Phenomenal…as always. Carry that victory flag high and proud girl. Carry on!
Thank you, Liz. Half the battle is realizing who is shooting at you! Love you.
Forgiveness in all its forms is victory! Beautiful post!
Whew, this is a tough one. . . I think I find it easier to forgive others than myself,, because “I knew better!” I will have to re-read your blog and let it soak in. You have a GIFT with your words Jana!!! A 100% blessing to us all.
Thanks, Linda. But I’m pretty sure I’m the blessed one!
Goooood grief Jana. Do you have *any* idea HOW GOOD you are at this writing thing?!?!? You need to submit this to P31 and several other publications. This is awesome! Love you!
Thank you so much (((Tif))). Love you, too!
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