Forgiving myself for my own sinful responses to abuse has been difficult. I have used the abuse a thousand times to excuse my acting out in sinful (to me) behaviors that have dishonored my body and soul. Those behaviors violate my belief system, my relationship with God, and my commitment to faithful marriage. Even if I didn’t physically engage in acting out, the mental/emotional cycle of addiction-repentance-addiction-repentance is enough to make me crazy.
Forgiveness is the ultimate creative act. It takes the aberration, the “sin”, the thing I don’t want to do but did anyway, into a new space that didn’t exist before, a place that says, “Okay, that happened, but it doesn’t define me. I’m not what I just did.” Forgiveness never ignores the behavior, but recognizes that the behavior is an indicator of a deeper need for connection, renewal, and belonging.
By forgiving myself, I create a new space where I can actually be more of who I really am and not be bound to the acting out of who I’m not, the addict, the broken, the depressed, anxious, or otherwise messed up person. Today, I forgive myself.
*John Joseph is a pseudonym of a pastor. He's a regular contributor to this blog.