The following is an excerpt from my article “The Enemy Within”, which appears in the July issue of St. Anthony Messenger. The article focuses on the theme of forgiveness of self
Why are we able to forgive others yet hold ourselves in contempt, often for the very same sin we’ve forgiven in someone else? For many of us, our sins bring shame — that judgment not of my behavior but of me as a person. Thus, “I did a bad thing” progresses to “I am a bad person.” We may practice “hate the sin, love the sinner” with others, but not with ourselves.
Similarly, under unusual circumstances, I may have behaved in a manner completely at odds with what I thought were my values. The result is fierce condemnation. Such is the burden carried by many of our combat veterans.
At a deeper level, though, our inability to forgive ourselves seems to reflect an attitude that my sins are worse than everyone else”s. Is this not somewhat arrogant? If I fancy myself the world’s greatest sinner, is this not actually rather egotistical?
So my inability and/or unwillingness to forgive myself are a combination of shame and pride. How can I be released from this self-consuming prison?
Further reflections: If you would like a copy of the full article, send me your mailing address or e-mail address and I’ll send you a copy. My e-mail address is <RichP45198@aol.com>