Forgiveness. The Bible tells me to forgive others. The Bible promises God has and will forgive me. Psychologists and medical doctors say unforgiveness causes many physical and emotional problems.
I understand all this. I can accept the premise of all these. Over time I have learned to forgive others for the wrongs done against me.
There is one I have the most trouble forgiving. ME. This keeps me stuck and I am unable to move forward. Everytime I try to step away it pulls me back in.
I have accepted the fact that harboring anger against another doesn’t hurt them one bit – it hurts me. I can be wary that I not allow you to hurt me again, but I forgive you.
What I have trouble forgiving is my part. Whether it is something I did that caused the other to hurt me OR my reaction to the hurt, I hold onto that pain I inflicted on myself. I feel such shame I cannot get past it. This guilt and shame keep me stuck and I am unable to move forward. Every time I try to step away it pulls me back in.
Recent devotional and Scripture studies have led me to discovering the difference between guilt and shame. Guilt is that feeling when I have done something wrong – shame focuses on who I am. It has caused me to step back and look deeply at what I am holding on to.
I have had to look closely at what it is I am facing: guilt or shame. I realize much of it is shame. Why? Because of the effect it has on me. Shame tells me ‘I am not good enough”, that “no one could love me because of this” and “I am a failure”.
These are LIES!!! I have to choose to ignore these lies. I must fight to remind myself of the truth. I am valued. My Savior died and defeated death for me. This would not be done for one who is ‘worthless’.
For what I am guilty of, I repent. Shame has no place in my life. I CHOOSE to turn away from the negative thoughts and lies. I CHOOSE to focus on what is pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy (see Philipians 4:8 )
I choose what I put into my physical body when I eat, I also choose what I allow in my mind. I choose to take control of these thoughts and focus on truth.
What do you do to keep shame at bay in your life?