by Elizabeth Carrouth
Many years ago, while existing in complete darkness, a “friend” told me that I was a very unforgiving person. I never forgot her words. They planted a seed that remained in the dark for many years. What I know now is that I cannot embrace if I refuse or am unable to first acknowledge and accept that forgiveness and healing is needed.
In 1987 my life turned inside out. In the best way. I fell in love with and embarked on a loving relationship with my Heavenly Father. I began to discover that granting and accepting forgiveness would become as much a part of my life as prayer, fellowship, laughter, learning to love, heartache, and grief. God placed incredible people in my life who taught me, from personal experience, the significance of forgiveness if I wanted to live a life of Peace. They taught me that it wasn’t about who was right or wrong, but that I look only for the part I played in destructive or broken relationships. If I wanted to be reasonably happy in this life, I must forgive others who had wronged me, real or imagined. God began to show me that if I was willing to let others “off the hook” I might have a fighting chance at forgiving myself. I am learning to accept with compassion the brokenness of humanity, teaching me to embrace forgiveness as my pathway to Peace. And although I get better at forgiveness as I grow closer to God, I sometimes sense my seeming incapacity to forgive myself for the deepest sins of my past, sins I know the Lord has long forgotten and graciously forgiven. But I now recognize and acknowledge this sin of perfection in myself. Most importantly, I ask others to pray for me and for God to show me how to forgive myself.