“Then came Peter to him, and said, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?’ Jesus saith unto him, ‘I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven’” Matthew 18: 21- 22 NIV.
Self-recrimination is one of the ego’s sneakiest ways to keep us from living a better life. When we refuse to forgive ourselves, we’re choosing to punish ourselves and everyone around us for our sins.
It’s easy to live in self-hatred. But it’s actually selfish to refuse to forgive ourselves for our sins, blunders, and mistakes. We may believe God has forgiven us, yet refuse to forgive ourselves as a form of self-punishment. While the inability to own our wrongdoing is pathological, at best, the perpetual self-flagellation we engage in neither serves God, ourselves, nor anyone else.
When we push away self-forgiveness, we push away the tender Spirit of Christ. His presence is perpetual forgiveness. The atmosphere around Jesus is endless love, endless goodness, endless grace. When we harbor anger, resentments, and grudges against ourselves, we put ourselves outside the boundless provision of God’s love. If we believe in grace for others, it’s selfish and penurious to withhold it from ourselves.
Rumi says, “One of the marvels of the world is the sight of a soul sitting in prison with the key in its hand!” Jesus says, “He whom the Son sets free is free indeed!” (John 8:36 NIV). Both are correct. We’ve been set free, yet we crouch in prison cells made of our own bitterness and cruel unforgiveness toward ourselves. This stance puts us in direct opposition to grace and is a direct refusal of the Gospel. It brings any chance of a better life to a dead stop. Look in the mirror now. Forgive yourself.