When I was in my mid-thirties, I finally left a destructive business partnership, and was broke and depressed. I knew God didn’t blame me for putting up with an abusive person. My friends didn’t blame me either. I blamed me. I was angry for falling prey. But instead of forgiving myself, I began to dig up all my old mistakes, and started to lose hope altogether.
Thank God for my close friends during that time! They stood by me, tried to lift my spirits and keep me sane. I always treasured the blessings of friendship, but one part had not occurred to me yet. Was I being a friend to myself? If someone I cared for had made the same mistake, wouldn’t I have hugged them and said, “It’s not your fault.”? Why couldn’t I forgive myself? And most crucial, if God forgives us, who are we to say God is wrong?
So… one night I wrote a list of past mistakes on a piece of paper, crunched it up and placed it in my sink. I imagined Christ and my loved ones standing by my side. I lit a match to the paper and said, “I forgive me.” After it burned, I poured water over the tiny embers and let them disappear down the drain. Then I hugged myself as if all my friends were hugging me too. I felt a glimmer of hope, and began the journey to treat myself as a friend.
Thirty years on, I’m so grateful for that revelation. Sometimes I’m still a disappointment to me, but it no longer turns to loathing. We are told to love our neighbor as ourselves. And in order to lift others we need to keep love and hope alive in our hearts. There is no better reason to leave mistakes behind. To be a forgiving friend to one’s self is a blessed place to start!
Shared by Patrice Donnell
3 responses to “A Forgiving Friend”
Patrice, you’ll never know how much I needed to hear this blog today. Thank you so much for posting this.
Patrice, I am so quick to forgive and show kindness to others but tend to be harsh on myself when I make mistakes. Through your story, I am reminded to be gentle, kind and loving to myself.
I am perfectly made by God. Thank you for sharing your story.
Thank you for your notes, Kathy and Gloria, I still need to remind myself about it sometimes! Please give yourselves a warm hug today and imagine Jesus and your dear friends surrounding you with love. Blessings,