Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Forgive and Forget

“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool."

--Isaiah 1:18

My Mo had a little issue at school. Without going into a lot of details that would embarrass her, I'll tell you that she reacted poorly to a situation. She hurt a friend. And she immediately felt sorry for her actions, so she confessed to the teacher and apologized to her friend. Her fanny wasn't even buckled in the back seat after school before she tearfully relayed the whole story to me.

Okay, I thought, here is one of those teachable moments you read about handed to me on a silver-plated platter.

We talked about what she had done and why it was wrong. I praised her for taking responsibility for her actions. I prayed with her as she asked Jesus for forgiveness, and we talked about grace and having our sins washed clean.

I got home, patted myself on the back for a mommy job well done, and went on with my life. I even giggled about the situation as I shared the story with her grandmother.

But Mo continued to beat herself up over her error in judgment. She cried, wanted to write an official notarized letter of apology to her friend, fretted over whether her mistake was bad enough to land her on Santa's naughty list, tearfully prayed every night and apologized to me over and over and over . . .

That was about four days ago, and she is still talking about it. 

I keep telling her that if we confess and ask forgiveness, we can forget it. God doesn't hold our mistakes against us. I've hugged her tight and talked it out. And I've had a hard time understanding why she can't let it go.

But I'm guilty of the exact same thing.

I beat myself up over the same things over and over again. Things that I've confessed and prayed about. Things I know I've been forgiven for. But I can't seem to forgive myself.

What does that say?

Guilt is such a powerful thing. I know it is a tool used by the enemy to drive a wedge in my relationship with God. I know this.

I am a fairly forgiving person by nature. So why is it so hard to forgive myself?

How do you deal with guilt? Is guilt just as bad as the behavior that caused it?

I'm not sure, but I better pull it together. My children are watching my example. 

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