Good morning from Glasgow international airport where I am enjoying an overpriced fry-up (cheers Ash, you are the best!!).
I have just spent a few days in Northern Ireland. It has been a year since I was in the republic and probably about 12 years since I visited the North!
I had a great few days with my friend Seamus’ family and as I sit here I ponder on the mystery of forgiving oneself!
Often when we talk of forgiveness we get defensive, we feel accused, what did I do wrong? It wasn’t my fault?
And sometimes this is exactly what Jesus is trying to tell you too!!
It is perhaps not your fault at all that your family or whoever do not like you, it is not your fault that you are sensitive or that you are not married with 3 kids and the perfect husband or wife! It is surely not your fault if you are gay or if you struggle with depression or if you are just different!
In order to be set free to be the person God intended you to be you need to do 3 things!
1. Forgive others who have hurt you and crushed you.
2. Forgive yourself for not conforming to ‘expectations’ that society or family may have placed on you and that subconsciously you may have placed on yourself
3. Allow yourself to be you cutting ties with those people holding you back (this means putting in place new boundaries)
In order to be me I have had to go through all these steps.
When I accepted that I was gay the ideal dream of having a wife and kids erupted. When I accepted that I hated my career in finance, the wealthy lifestyle I had blue up and when I accepted that I wanted God in the centre of my life I had to accept all the misunderstandings that came with it!
For years I was taught that there was something wrong with me. But turns out there wasn’t, I was just different! Maybe as you read this you too are different?! Do people blame you for being different? Do they try to force you to be “normal”? Perhaps you think that there is something wrong with you when the only disease you have is that of inhaling the passive smoke of a boring society!
“We are all born originals but most die copies”. Don’t waste your life beating yourself up trying to be what you are not!
Some will accept you as you really are, others wil not but be you anyway!
My family never accepted the new me. For years they accused me of being mentally ill. They refused to acknowledge my spiritual calling or tell any neighbours or friends what Jesus was doing in my life! Never did they encourage me and in fact the opposite as my mum even went as far as threatening suicide if I did not return to their way of thinking!
But what did I do wrong? Is it not Jesus that chose me and made me different?! The result was that I had to cut them out and move on with my life for my own sanity! I call occasionally and that’s it. Perhaps one day they will come around but I can’t live my life waiting for that and neither can you!
And so you see, today the only person holding you back from being you might be actually be yourself due to faulty thinking!
Somehow you may think that forgiving others means saying that they are right and that you are wrong but this is a lie!
Forgiving is more like saying ” I understand that you don’t understand and that you think this about me, but only God really knows me and so I forgive you and am going to be me anyway”!
Sometimes people will not accept the new you and this isn’t your fault. You can’t make others like or understand you and so pray for them and move on with your life. Your only judge is Jesus, not them!
It is not easy letting go because somewhere deep down we would all like unconditional love and acceptance especially from our families of origin. However, part of the spiritual life is dying to self and putting God first and so allowing God to transform you into the real you!
And so I encourage you to pray this with me
“Jesus, today I choose to accept myself the way I am. All the things about myself that society and family have taught me to hate, I now accept.
I forgive those who do not accept me as I am and try to change me.
I forgive myself for not accepting myself and for blaming and hating myself.
Jesus, today I allow myself to be me and I ask your Holy Spirit of power and strength to fill me and give me the strength to be who I really am and to give me new friends and family who love and accept me”
And here is a song that helps me!