Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Forgiving Ourselves ; A Christian Science Perspective on Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Forgiving Ourselves ; A Christian Science Perspective on Daily Life

Article excerpt

The other day I flipped on the radio and heard a man telling of the atrocities he had committed during the Korean War. The program's host queried him about forgiveness.

"Do you mean self-forgiveness?" he responded. And when the host indicated that she did, he said, "Yes, but it had to be something more than myself forgiving me." He implied that it was God who enabled him to forgive himself.

The Bible speaks of God "who forgiveth all thine iniquities.... He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewardeth us according to our iniquities" (Ps. 103:3, 10).

Turning to God, divine Love, for forgiveness is the way, and maybe the only way, to find the forgiveness that wipes out sin and the memory of it. Indulging in self-hatred and condemnation is destructive.

That psalm also gives the assurance that the same God who forgives all iniquities is the One "who healeth all thy diseases; who redeemeth thy life from destruction."

Humanity does need to be delivered from destructive condemnation. Too often we find that we just can't forgive ourselves. And this destructive condemnation can poison our thinking. A friend once told me, "A condemning state of consciousness includes whatever is in one's consciousness." I was advised to eliminate self-condemnation if I did not want to have such an attitude toward others.

That was easier said than done. One day after I'd spent hours condemning myself and trying to stop. I cried out in exasperation, "God, if You can't make somebody better than me, that's Your problem, not mine."

Of course, I recognized at the time that that was a foolish thing to say, but it did waken me to the fact that lingering in a sinful sense of myself was denying my true selfhood, and in a way accusing God of creating evil.

This experience, happening well over a half century ago, still alerts me to stop indulging in self-hate. …

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