Can We Forgive Ourselves?
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
It’s easy to read this verse and consider the simple meaning. Be nice to others if you want them to be nice to you. Treat others with respect and forgiveness if you’d like the same back. However, let’s take this a step further.
How can we truly ever love others or treat them with respect, love, and forgiveness, if we cannot respect, love, and forgive ourselves?
Many of us are plagued with childhood wounds. Whether it was a dysfunctional family or abusive relationships or bullies at school, each of us come with a history filled with stories of betrayal, hardship, and hurt.
Because of these wounds, we often hurt others. We often do and say things we regret. We act on impulse or out of pain, and later wish we had acted on our true heart rather than our momentary weakness. It happens and, in turn, we build up a mountain of shame inside of our souls.
This shame turns into a cold hard wall that prevents vulnerability and true love from entering our lives.
We do not forgive ourselves for the things we’ve done. For some of us, we refuse to love ourselves because of the pain caused in our past. We don’t believe we’re worthy of love or, in some cases, even life.
So we hide. We hide our beauty, our strengths, and most importantly, our love.
Bitterness takes over. In these moments sometimes we subconsciously want to be hurt because it repeats this pattern we’re used to in life. We think we deserve pain, not love. So we treat others with criticism, judgement, and disrespect without realizing it, because this is how we treat ourselves. And the cycle continues.
So, to really take full advantage of the beauty found in this verse, we must learn to love ourselves.
We must learn to fully embrace who we are as humans—all falling short of the glory of God—and accept our weaknesses.
We need to accept our imperfections and allow ourselves to fail.
We need to take care of ourselves, step back, and practice self-love as ridiculous as that can sound at times.
We need to love and embrace ourselves. Be the friend we never had. And get rid of that inner critic that wants to ruin our lives.
When we finally come to this point of loving and embracing ourselves, we need to forgive ourselves. Not just for past actions we regret, but for the mistakes we may make today and tomorrow as well.
We need to allow ourselves room to fail so that we can truly grow.
Before we can begin to treat others as we ourselves want to be treated, we need to treat ourselves kindly and with love.
Until we love and respect ourselves, we cannot love and respect others.
And if we cannot love and respect others or ourselves, we simply can’t expect that others will love us either.
Take some time to embrace your struggles, wounds, and failures, and draw near to the glory of God. He will show you that it’s okay to be who you are, that you are more than worthy of the life He has given you, and that you have every reason to love the person He created. Go Living Scripture Strong!