As Christians, one of the first prayers that we learn growing up is "The Lord's Prayer" also known as the "Our Father". One of the most prominent lines of that prayer is "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespassed against us". At the heart of the Christian faith is love which results in forgiveness. Therefore, forgiveness is derived from love. Where there is no love there is no forgiveness. So we are to forgive our trespassers, this is a concept that most if not all Christians are familiar with, even though sometimes we find that it is not practiced, it is at the very least known. So forgiving others is something we understand. It is almost a Christian norm. However, if you are anything like me, then you probably struggled with forgiving yourself more than forgiving others. I mean after all Jesus taught me how to forgive others, but what about myself?
Well, what often happens in my life is that I feel deep contrition for my sins, so I go to confession. Confession is where I am absolved of my sins. Therefore, in that instance the Good Lord has forgiven me my trespasses. Yet, sometimes way beyond confession I still chastise myself over the mistakes that I have done.
Why is that? Why can I not forgive myself even long after I have been absolved? Well, personally, because I hold myself to such a high standard it's hard for me to understand how could I do something so stupid, regales of how grave or small the sin seems to the eyes of the world.
By not forgiving myself, I am not loving myself. Yet God Himself loves me so I should love and forgive myself.
However, as per usual, there is something deeper going on. At the root of out transgressions there is a bigger cause. For example our hypothetical friend Bob committed adultery. Adultery was the sin, but what drove that sin? Well, we can attribute it to lust, we may also attributed it selfishness or coveting someone else's wife. When Bob tells a lie, the lie is the sin, but we can attribute it to envy. Maybe Bob lied because he was jealous of his friends, he wanted to make himself seem more powerful.
So at the root of sin there is something else going on. So why can't I forgive myself? well maybe my lack of forgiveness to my own sins is due to pride. Even though God has shown me His mercy, my pride is preventing me from tasting the sweet fruits of His love. My pride that said "I should have not committed such an error" has lead me numerous times to receiving God's graces, but leave them untouched.
Today I want to ask you, what is at the root of your sins? What is beneath the surface?
Thank you for reading, please keep me your humble servant and sister in Christ in your prayers.