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>
Yes, conceit cuts both ways: “I am worse than” is just as conceited as “I am better than”.
With gratitude and respect, Hariod Brawn.
another great — needed — message
could you email me the article
Once one’s core belief in their own goodness and worthiness is shattered, it is very difficult to put those pieces back together. Perhaps it takes God (or those working for Him) to put them back together. Sometimes it is useful to recall that some of the greatest Saints including Saint Paul, and Saint Augustine started out with some significant sins before becoming saints. And then their is my favorite, Saint Dismas. Although one attorney laughed when I said it, it remains true that there is only one person we know for sure is in Heaven and he is (was) a thief.
Thank you so much for your posts and all you continue to teach me. You are absolutely on point with your blog musings and I especially related to the last paragraph of your blog on Serenity.
I would love to read the rest of “the Enemy Within”. Would you please send that to me? I am truly relating to the massive ego I must have to think that my sins are unforgivable all the while I am working hard to forgive others.
Have you heard of Pastor Jonthan Anderson? I can’t find any thing more about him but somehow ran across this website and it really helps me to truly understand that God IS love. Thought you might find it interesting as well . . .
Love you, Michele
Michele email@example.com In God We Trust!
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