Forgiving myself is the biggest challenge I’ve faced as Christ-follower.
I’ve been blessed throughout my life to have had friends and family that are extremely patient and forgiving. We are all blessed that Jesus paid for our sins on the cross and has forgiven us.
However, there was still one person who had not forgiven me yet, and he was far more critical. It makes sense he is the one that has to live with all consequences of the decisions I made.
I would lay awake at night and wonder how did I end up here. The reminders would come flooding in.
It would start with the thought of stealing money from a previous friend. Then it might jump to me getting caught shoplifting, wrecking one of my vehicles, never-ending drug use or waking up in county jail and not knowing how I got there.
Eventually, I would end up at some of my lowest memories. One was stealing medications from an elderly woman, a home health patient of my mother. She lived in a poor and crime-riddled part of Houston in a home where most of the floor, windows, and doors had been replaced by plywood. She was often in terrible pain, from a disjointed hip and her family had stopped helping because she became an inconvenience to them. Despite that, she was always in a great mood and would love to see me when I brought her laundry my mother had done. Sometimes she would call randomly just to sing to me. This was someone I was stealing from. Taking medications she couldn’t afford yet desperately needed.
The guilt kept me tossing and turning for hours at night. Even if I could get past thinking about one of these deeds another would soon follow. I did feel that I deserved this anguish and was a little relieved by this thought. What kind of person would I be if my past didn’t bother me?
I still had to move on. These acts were behind me. Besides asking those I wronged for forgiveness, what else could I do?
I began reading at night to take my mind off these indiscretions. It was my inability to sleep and a constant searching of literature to consume that lead me to the bible and eventually finding Christ.
It wasn’t long before I asked Jesus to come into my life and accepted him as my Lord and Savior. Living daily with the Holy Spirit in me now, a slow transformation had begun. Some changes happened immediately. I lost my desire to play poker and the longing I had to get high. The guilt was still there but the more I would replace it with the consumption of God’s word through the bible and other literature the more it faded.
Thinking about my past no longer overwhelmed me with grief. Now, I accepted that these deeds were part of my path to finding God and can be used to teach others with similar backgrounds.
I cannot say that I have completely forgiven myself. There are many people I have hurt that I would like to reach out to and probably many others that I don’t remember due to my drug abuse. I pray God will give me the courage and opportunity to do so.
This isn’t intended as a manual on how to forgive yourself. It is how God was able to lead me to peace of mind through the Holy Spirit and His word. These tools weren’t given to me so I could forgive myself. Jesus has done that. They were given to me so I could gain perspective on what was truly important. It’s not about me.