By Kendall D. Aaron | firstname.lastname@example.org
I have failed at various things in my life. Oh boy, have I failed. I have failed in historic and grand fashion. I’ve obviously survived these failures, but they also left quite the impact on me and my life. They are the events that require you to stop, dust yourself off, and carry on. But like most everyone, I’ve also spent a lot of time and energy beating myself up over these failures. And that’s too bad.
I’ve had friends that have failed me. I’ve had family that has failed me. I’ve had co-workers that have failed me. And at the end of the day, if I still want these people in my life (and for the most part I do), I’m left with only one option: to forgive them. And while I’m successful at letting go of the past and moving on as it relates to others, I’m terrible at granting myself the same luxury of forgiveness.
And why do we do that? Why do we not allow ourselves to fail, and when we do, why do we act like it’s front page news? Why do we think that we are so perfect that there will be news reporters standing on our lawn telling the world of the ground breaking news that we screwed up at work? It’s funny when you really stop to think about it.
Why do we do it? Because we are jammed full of PRIDE. I’m so guilty of this, and if I would only move beyond it, life would probably be so less difficult. We fail God all the time by our sin, and what does He do? He forgives us. He’s the best at it – not only does He forgive us, the Bible tells us He FORGETS the transgression. Can you forget your failures? Of course not – you can remember some boneheaded thing you did in high school, and here you are 30 years later still lamenting your foul up. And I’m really no different.
But that PRIDE that we all are consumed with is really not fair to you, nor healthy to you. God forgives you, your friends forgive you, and yet you won’t forgive YOU. You stand around and kick yourself about how you are so stunned that you got something wrong. You get depressed and stomp around and spend weeks, years, and sometimes decades making sure that you feel miserable. I suppose that we need to be confident that we feel miserable ENOUGH before we finally decide that it’s time to move on. That doesn’t mean that we have forgiven ourselves, it just means that we are tired of feeling terrible.
We have the capacity to forgive, because we give it to others. The arrogance in our refusal to grant ourselves forgiveness goes against God’s desires for us. He wants us to be happy. He wants us to be able to mess up, learn a lesson, and move on. And guess what happens when you don’t follow God’s teachings? Yup – now you’ve messed up with God.
Take this spring as a time to let go of your failures. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and you are accomplishing nothing by wasting the life God has blessed you with by driving yourself mad with regret and depression. Forgive yourself. If you’re having a hard time fully releasing the guilt, then give it to God. Tell Him that you can’t deal with it anymore and that you are going to let Him have the guilt. He’ll simply take the guilt and throw it in the trash (you think God has some sort of celestial trash can?) but you’ll feel better by releasing the pain.
You are capable of errors, but don’t commit an even bigger error by fooling yourself that you are not.