Have you ever done something so wrong that it colors everything around you with a black cloud? Something you knew even as you were doing it that it was wrong?
I did something last week that I am so ashamed of. I can’t give details because I am horrified by what I did, and I feel too broken to share it. I knew immediately that my actions were wrong and I asked forgiveness from the person I wronged, but I still can’t shake the guilt I feel over what I did.
I keep “shoulding” myself: I should have known better. I should have seen it coming and stopped it before it happened. I should have NEVER done it. And I still don’t know why I did.
Now I have to live with the reality of my shame and brokenness.
Our church started a new teaching series on forgiveness. The pastor spoke about forgiving others who have wronged us. The entire time he spoke, I couldn’t stop thinking about how *I* am the one who needs forgiveness. It has already been given to me, but I can’t allow myself to accept it. Does that make sense? In a way, I feel that accepting forgiveness lightens the gravity of what I did. And that, to me, is unacceptable.
I screwed up. Badly. And I don’t ever want to forget that because I don’t want to repeat that mistake. It is now replaying itself over and over in my head.
My pastor said the Greek word “aphiemi” means to forgive in the sense of cutting something loose, freeing, releasing or letting go. I know the person I hurt has already let it go, and now I must find a way to follow that lead. My pastor said to leave it at the cross. It doesn’t mean I’m finished with it, but it means that I don’t have to face it alone.
Jesus, give me the strength to forgive myself as you have already forgiven me. Amen.