Word of Encouragement: Counselor’s Corner: Are You Merciful to Yourself?
Do you give mercy to others but find it difficult to give mercy to yourself?
Forgiving others may come much easier than forgiving yourself. You can justify forgiving others for tremendous offenses but seem to find it difficult to forgive yourself for lesser offenses. There could be a wrong belief that says that you need to pay some sort of penance before you can let yourself off the hook.
You might say that you are your worst own critic. Taking care and helping others are your primary concern, but you seem to neglect proper self-care of yourself. Enjoying life and not taking life so serious is challenging for you because you feel at times you should be punished for the wrong that you have done. Even more challenging is others who have not offered you forgiveness of your wrong doings, and you may condemn yourself because you do not feel forgiven by them.
When you show mercy to someone, you let them off the hook. Showing mercy means you will have compassion and forgiveness instead of giving that person what they deserved. Mercy means not bringing up the offense committed again. Are you able to do this with yourself, or do you rehash your shortcomings over and over? Do you beat yourself up over mistakes and weaknesses that you have? Are you rigid and hard on yourself, not able to let go of prior offenses?
You have asked Jesus to forgive you for your past mistakes but you continue to punish yourself in some way. You can punish yourself by not enjoying life. If you replay in your mind all the hurtful things you have done, or all the regrets that you have-you will not enjoy life!
God does not punish you for your past mistakes by wanting you to remember them and not enjoy life. In fact the opposite is true of God-He is merciful and gives mercy. Jesus paid your debts that you owed on the cross, and when you seek His forgiveness in your daily walk with Him; He washes you clean as if you never committed any sin!
Showing mercy to yourself means that you recognize that you are human with weaknesses and shortcomings, and you will not always act perfectly or do the right thing. Letting go and forgiving yourself of any wrong doing that you have done will sow mercy for yourself. If you feel you just can’t show yourself mercy because you mess up daily or frequently, you especially need to give yourself mercy. If you are honestly trying not to hurt or offend others, and you are striving daily to grow in your relationship with Christ, then give yourself MERCY!