I'm sure I'm not the only one, but sometimes I just feel really weighed down by stuff. It's like this big ball of oppressive junk that makes me feel slow and heavy, I've found myself recently getting bogged down with something and just like sometimes, on my own, as I was walking, I'd just stop and pause. I felt like I was dragging things around with me that were limiting me.
As we continue this series it occurred to me that were was a device that's used to limit a prisoners movement. This device has many names and forms, ankle shackles, leg cuffs, ball and chain, the point is the same, a device that limits movement and holds a person down. I call them “shackles”.
Shackles don’t just weigh you down, they can also be used to chain you to one particular place, prisoners can be chained into a sort of kneeling position with their wrists shackled to their ankles. Holding you in a fixed position, unable to move from it.
As I mentioned in part one, everything in this ‘mind prison’ is either self inflicted or self created and what is it that leads me to find myself bogged down and unable to move sometimes. So what is it that’s caused me to feel this way?
More specifically, I find it hard to forgive myself.
Yeah, I know, it’s supposed to be easy, I screw up, I ask God to forgive me and I try not to do it again, but, what if it’s one thing that you did once and only once and you find it hard to move past the fact that you did it? What if it’s something you did in good conscious and later found out it was bad?
That sensation of being wracked with guilt over something you did and you continue to punish yourself for it. Yeah, when it comes to un-forgiveness of self it really is essentially shackling yourself to the past and you’re either dragging it around with you or it’s holding you in place.
Yeah… Shackles suck.
I’m behind in the daily devotions that get sent through and fortunately so, because I had a bit of a binge this morning. I’m too sick to get to church and I thought catching up on bible study and having some quiet time to myself would be a good idea and what do you know? I happen upon a message about forgiveness. It was split into two parts, upon reflection though I discovered something. It raised the points that we find it hard to forgive others because what they did was so bad, it hurt so much and no-one could understand the pain.
I realise this is how I feel when faced with the fact that I need to forgive myself.
In relation to harbouring unforgiveness against others it read “Unforgiveness [against others] is like drinking poison and hoping someone else gets sick” and I realise in my own little world I was drinking the poison, sure, but I wasn’t expecting anyone else to get sick.
I was hoping I would.
When you refuse (or, in my mind, find it hard) to forgive myself, it’s like drinking poison, knowing full well it’s poison and not caring.
That’s either really dumb or just means you wish to punish yourself.
Fortunately this devotional briefly talked about self punishment. If God has forgiven us and we don’t forgive ourselves and continue to try to make up for what we’ve done by refusing to forgive ourselves, or trying to atone for it, or perhaps other things, then we’re saying with our attitudes that the cross wasn't enough.
I mean, that’s bold for all the wrong reasons.
How can we… How can I, as an informed, forgiven individual believe that the cross wasn’t enough? Where do I get off telling God what did or didn't work.
I can hear myself thinking (in a rather perplexing inner monologue) it now:
“But you don’t get it I’m horrible! I don’t deserve to be forgiven.”
“God can wrap space and time around his little finger, I’m pretty sure he knows how nasty or not I am, were or could ever be.”
“Yeah… but, but but….”
There’s not really an answer to it, but I still try to justify it, for some really weird reason, does anyone else?
It begs the question of why I hold onto the issues of not being able to forgive myself. So, this morning, I recognised that I had been living with my rule of punishing myself in the way I deserved and I felt I had to live as God wanted me to life, not as shackled down to what I had done, but free to move freely into what's coming next.
I tried to find a passage to include here, but I couldn’t find something really deep and meaningful, maybe that’s because being forgive in just so simple and we overly complicate it with our issues and disbelief. I guess when we are forgiven we are forgiven in our entirety and we are free indeed.
Til next time.