Will you forgive me? I know I’m not perfect and I know I’ve made mistakes. I want to admit that to you so that you know I know, am sorry, and plan to do better.
As easy as that was to type, it’s hard to say that when someone is ready to rage in your face. It’s also not easy to forgive yourself. We’ve got some pretty deep memories; minds that can remember some things, like hurt, and not others, like names. Most of us have thoughts in our heads that flit in at inopportune moments to crush our spirits or break our concentration. Lewis B. Smedes said:
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”
We’ve all been made prisoner by others at one point in time or another, stuck in situations we don’t like or doing a favor for a friend that puts us in a situation we’d rather skip (blind date, work holiday party etc.). But some of us have gotten good at sticking ourselves in jail, maybe by continuing the bad relationship, eating what isn’t so good for us or not living up to our full potential. The good news is that in just about every situation you have the get out of jail free card!
When you offer yourself forgiveness, forgive someone else, or accept forgiveness from someone else, you’re given the opportunity to free yourself, and maybe them too. If you don’t accept the forgiveness offered, you’re throwing away the key to get out of jail. Even if the other person doesn’t accept the forgiveness, knowing you’ve offered it can be enough to free you to continue in your life.
There are lots of ways we tie ourselves down, including guilt, hatred, dwelling, and repetition. There are plenty of bad things going on in the world that you really don’t need to keep punishing yourself for the mistakes you’ve made. Instead, offer yourself forgiveness and step away from those negative things. If you want a better future, you have to learn how to live with forgiveness so you can move from the past.