• James McNeil

The secret power of... Forgiveness?

I had messed up. I knew it. As I sat there with my face in my hands, I knew not only that I had messed up, but it was bad. I had lost my temper and blown up on someone I cared about. In this modern world, friends are hard to come by, and to find someone close enough to be a brother or sister is almost unheard of. So, it’s vital to keep those friendships close and guard them by not doing exactly what I had just done.

By now, you’re likely nodding your head. You’ve been there. It may not have been a temper you lost, but you still messed up. And you know that you need to apologize. So you do. Now it’s up to the other person to decide whether or not to forgive you, and it’s completely their choice.

However, there’s one more step. You need to forgive yourself. In chapter three of Finding Your Personal Mission, you will see very good reasons why you need to forgive yourself, but today, I’d like to focus on one. Until you do, you will not experience peace at all. You will be angry with yourself, and likely the anger will be deserved. You will need to process that anger, but without forgiving yourself for what you’ve done, you’ll likely do it again. A lack of peace does that.

“Wait a minute,” you may be thinking. “If I just let myself off scot-free, wouldn’t that lead to a repeat of what I’d just done?”

That’s where we need to correct a misunderstanding of forgiveness. It’s not saying you were right to do it. It is saying, “I forgive you for what you did wrong.” (emphasis mine) You still need to make it right with the other person. You still need to work out ways to not do it again, and you need to implement what you decide to use. However, you will not have your hands tied to get through it by anger. Yes, anger ties your hands. As long as you choose not to forgive yourself (or someone else), you are tying your own hands on moving forward. Forgiveness frees you and enables you to grow.

It sounds easy, but it isn’t. Forgiving yourself and growing from your mistakes is incredibly hard. But it works. Try it. And I mean honestly try it. You’ll see what a difference it makes in your life to forgive your past self and reclaim your peace.

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