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Forgiving Yourself

10.7.12 Journal Blog post about my experience counseling in the inner city (For more context- please refer to Corporate Girl in an Inner City World)


To the torturers

During “Patterns of Change” class I co-lead, I brought up the topic of unforgiveness towards self because we were talking about guilt and shame. Working with the women in this shelter, I have really noticed that there’s a lot of guilt and inability to forgive oneself.

Many of these women have come from difficult domestic abuse or substance abuse situations where they have not been able to give their kids the best. (many had kids in their teen years)

Somewhere in the middle of their addiction and their abusive relationships, most women had kids at a young age and really wasn’t there for their kids (either their parents took care of their babies or they did a poor job raising their kids).

In that shame, in that unforgiveness—as the Bible says—there really is a release to the ‘torturers’ that I believe happens even psychologically! This has to be a priority…to not just forgive others but to forgive themselves too.

In Matthew 18:21-35, the Bible talks about the parable of the servant and the master and paying the debt (a parable that most of us know)…

Notice what verse 32-34 says:

“Then his master called him and said to him, You contemptible and wicked attendant! I forgave and cancelled all that [great] debt of yours because you begged me to.

And should you not have had pity and mercy on your fellow attendant, as I had pity and mercy on you?

And in wrath his master turned him over to the torturers (the jailers), till he should pay all that he owed.”

This spiritual torture that people may experience when they have unforgiveness in their heart towards others or themselves may include: guilt, condemnation, anxiety, depression, sickness, sadness, a feeling of ‘heaviness,’ or even inability to function in relationships.


Six Steps Toward Forgiving Yourself

Does this resonate with you? If so, here’s a few steps you can take to forgive yourself.

1.Take out a sheet of paper and write your name at the top. Now take some time to think about all of those things you’ve never let go of in your past that you haven’t forgiven yourself for.

2.Write down what those transgressions are and who you hurt; how you hurt them, etc. Was it verbal or physical abuse? Dishonesty? Neglecting someone you cared about? Betrayal? Rejection? Theft? Rape? Lying? Addiction? Adultery?

3.Write down how you feel about yourself because of these unresolved feelings over your past mistakes. Be very honest with yourself. Although you may have made amends or been forgiven by others, do you still feel unworthy? God knows how you feel and He sees your heart. Express on paper how you feel and let the emotions flow release them!

4.Decide to forgive yourself. Forgiveness is not a feeling but a decision of the will and one of the greatest Gifts from God. He has told us to forgive and that He will give us the power to do so but it all begins with the decision to do so.

5.Take your list to God and acknowledge your forgiveness to Him. “Lord, I come to You today and give up my unforgiveness. I forgive myself for ____________________. At this moment, I choose not to hold these offenses against myself, but put them into Your Hands. God, heal my emotional wounds and help me to be able to move forward without regrets and help me to let go of the past and start fresh. God give me the ability to offer upliftment and comfort to someone else with the same comfort you have given me. I release my past sins of ____________into Your Hands.”

6.Destroy the list in private. This visual exercise can be very freeing. Whether you decide to shred it, burn it or tear it up and scatter it in the trash, imagine your past mistakes being destroyed and floating away in the same manner.


Prayer of Forgiveness

Heavenly Father,

Alone with You in this moment of meditation and prayer, I release any unresolved feelings of resentment or regret.

Help me through this process of healing.

I release to you any unresolved feelings that I have toward myself. I understand that not forgiving myself is disobedience toward you.

Forgive me for any pain that I have caused in the lives of others. Forgive me for not letting go of the past and moving forward in love.

I experience now the relief of forgiveness to the depths of my being.

Heavenly Father, I acknowledge and give thanks for Your love that strengthens me, comforts and soothes me emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually.

In the complete fullness of Your Love, I can and do forgive myself.

Thank you, Heavenly Father, for healing my heart and bringing Joy and Meaning back into my life.

In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

(Reference:  Sisters of the Faith)



The power of forgiveness

I cannot emphasize enough the power of forgiveness and what I have experienced in my own life. I detail this in my other blog articles– When You Need a Heart Transplant and my series on Healing Father Wounds and encourage you to check those out to learn more about the freedom that comes with forgiveness towards others, which also applies to yourself.


Heart Check

1) Is there anything you have done in the past (or keep doing) towards yourself, others, or God that you need to forgive yourself for? If so, what?

2) How do you think this unforgiveness towards yourself has ‘tortured’ you?

3)What steps will you take today to forgive yourself?



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