This month we’ve been talking about the topic of health. It’s a topic that affects us all and is important to us all regardless of where we live, what we do, what we look like, what we like, and whether we have a job/are in a relationship/have kids or not. Health is not just about the physical, but about the mental, spiritual and social as well. All contribute to how healthy we are as a whole person. Today I want to talk about an important health topic, forgiveness. It’s not a comfortable topic, but I believe it’s an important one.
Let’s start with what forgiveness is, with wisdom from John Ortberg: “Forgiving is not the same thing as excusing…Forgiving is not forgetting…Forgiving is not the same thing as reconciling…When I forgive you, I give up the right to hurt you back…When we forgive each other, we begin to see more clearly. We do not ignore the hurts, but we see beyond them…”
Forgiveness doesn’t happen all at once, and it’s not just about other people. Often the biggest person we need to forgive is ourselves. We do really good at screwing ourselves over. We use excuses, stall tactics, smaller priorities, other people and laziness to avoid doing what we really need to do. As a result the guilt just keeps growing keeping us stuck and making it harder to get unstuck which is super frustrating and detrimental to our health, often in many ways. It’s not easy to accept that we’ve been treating ourselves poorly and that things need to change. It doesn’t feel good to admit that we were wrong or that we’ve gone down the wrong path. And sometimes while you may need to forgive someone else for something they’ve done you find that you need to forgive yourself as well because you played a role in the problem as well.
It’s not easy to accept we’re not perfect, know-it-all people, but we’re not. You and I both have areas that we need to improve in. If you’ve been struggling to make that improvement it may be because you’re unwilling or unable to forgive yourself or others for past hurts so that you can begin the process of letting the past go and moving into the future. I encourage you to join me this week in finally accepting that things need to change and taking steps to make those changes happen, starting with forgiving yourself or someone you’ve been letting keep that power over you for too long.