Let It Go

This year a fun Disney movie came out called Frozen. In that movie Elsa sings the song, “Let it Go!” Every 6 year-old-girl can sing that song. One of Elsa’s struggles was forgiving herself after she “froze” her sister Anna.
The “Let It Go” song is about breaking the shackles that others put on us. But the most difficult shackles to break are the shackles that we put on ourselves. Like Elsa, we can find it very hard to forgive ourselves.
Probably the most difficult person for you to forgive is yourself. It takes great courage to forgive oneself. We will try to excuse ourselves or cover up our mistakes or failures, but to forgive takes real courage because we must face our sins.
We often hurt ourselves, but we have the most difficult time forgiving ourselves when we hurt those we love deeply. The pain we inflict becomes the hate we feel for ourselves. In my anger towards my father’s death, I often lashed out toward my mom. She was patient with me, but I remember saying harsh things and not remembering that she had lost her husband, lover, and best friend. When I realized how cruel I was, how could I forgive myself. How dare I?
Let me walk you through a path to forgiving yourself.
1. First, you need complete honesty with yourself. You must honestly assess what you have done and the impact of the action done or the words spoken. The impact is important, because we tend to minimize the damage we do.
2. Second, be clear headed when evaluating yourself. Be clear on knowing the difference between self-esteem and self-forgiveness. When we esteem ourselves we acknowledge our good. When we forgive ourselves we face our evil. When I face the fact that selfishness, pride, rage, lust, revenge, etc. abides in my inner being, it is then that I am facing reality rather than being clouded by what I hope I find there.
3. Third step is to embolden courage in your heart to take responsibility before God and before those you have hurt. This may require restitution of some kind.
4. Fourth, confess concretely. In forgiving yourself there is no room to minimize what you have done. You must be clear to yourself, to God, and possibly others. This requires you to specify your wrongdoing. Therefore, there is also no room for “everything I do is sin.” Be as concrete in your confession to self and to God.
5. Finally, confirm that your value is because God’s love for you has been revealed when Jesus died on the cross for you.
God knows you better than you know yourself, sees your impure motives, your selfishness, and your pettiness better than you can. If God forgives you, why can’t you forgive yourself? Embrace the cross.

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