One of the most fundamental aspects of Christianity is forgiveness. Jesus died so that we may be forgiven for our sins. He paid a price that none of us could have paid, even if it was a bill He didn’t deserve. Yet, in my opinion, He did more than that. He gave us an example of how we can forgive others and more importantly, how we can forgive ourselves.
It was a sermon on forgiveness that brought me back to my faith. I had gone into church that day because I wanted to pray for someone, and I thought I didn’t have the standing to pray without the blessing of a church (spoiler alert, that isn’t how prayer works). And even now, years later, I am amazed by the forgiveness offered to us by Jesus through His sacrifice, which is why it remains a central part of my faith and my recovery.
As an initial matter, forgiveness for me was about letting go of negative feelings that I have towards those who had wronged me, those who had hurt me, and those who had unknowingly fueled the darkness of my depression. The final prayer of Jesus, “forgive them, for they know not what they do,” could so easily be reapplied to those in my life who I feel also wronged me.
Beyond that, the harder work for my recovery is forgiving myself. Yet in the selfless acts of Jesus, we see that there were no qualifiers on his acts of love and forgiveness, nor should there be on ours. Self-forgiveness is a difficult task, one I am constantly falling short of. Yet nevertheless it is an example of what is possible. Sure, there are days that I forget about self-forgiveness. Yet nevertheless it is something I can keep coming back to, time and time again. Just as my demons are always waiting in the darkness, the healing power of forgiveness is always waiting for me to remember it, to apply it to myself.
Hopefully, this post helps me do that. And hopefully, if forgiveness is something you struggle with, this post will do something similar for you. Thanks for reading. Be well.