Balloon

Last Sunday, the Awesome Kids Ministry team taught the children about forgiving oneself.

They enjoyed a short skit and a balloon analogy about forgiveness.

For the craft activity, they made a hot air balloon artwork that reminded them that God sets us free and we must forgive ourselves.

Balloon

Forgiving yourself is far more challenging than forgiving someone else because you must live with yourself and your thoughts 24/7. Despite the challenge, emotionally healthy people must have the capacity to forgive themselves when they have made a mistake.

I was reminded of a sixty-five year-old taxi driver I met few years back. He asked me what I did for a living. I told him I was a former OFW and shared my healing journey.

Like many others who learn of my concerns, he decided to open up about his life to see if I had any advice.

He’d been married for twenty-seven years, and had tried to commit suicide two years prior by overdosing on pills. His wife found his body and helped revive him. He was grateful he didn’t succeed in committing suicide, but said that, though he thinks his wife is a great person, he is not attracted to her. He said that ever since his suicide attempt he had been attracted to many of his passengers and one of these days would like to “take it to the next level.”

I didn’t really want to dwell on his attraction to his passengers, so much as try to get back to his childhood.

Many of the problems we have as adults have their roots in our upbringing. Come to find out, he had a very rough childhood. His parents were alcoholics, which drove him to seek aid and comfort from a male church leader he trusted.

This church leader tried to have an inappropriate relationship with him. So he was cut off emotionally from his parents, and spiritually from the religion that was supposed to sustain him during difficult times.

This sense of being isolated from his social world led him to make many bad choices, starting from a young age. These added up, until he felt like he couldn’t escape from the consequences.

He felt trapped in a prison of his own making, and that’s why he wanted to end his life. I told him that it must be really hard to carry all of these difficulties with him his whole life, but that it was time to forgive others and, more importantly, forgive himself.

I told him to write a letter to himself listing all the things he forgave himself for. Writing is very therapeutic, but it also helps to hear a message. So I wanted him to read the letter out loud to himself and process it aurally as well. Who knows if he ever followed my advice. Many hurting people know what to do, but don’t do what they know.

Sometimes our poor choices stack up, and churn the ground beneath our feet into quicksand.

We must remember to relax, breathe in, and not let our current situation rob us of the will to make changes. Don’t’ wallow in a temporary negativity—take action!

Don’t spend so much time going over the past that you allow it to define you.

Life is full of choices and every choice we make will either take us in a positive, life-giving direction or rob us of the opportunity to be a life-giving individual.

Forgiving ourselves does not let us off the hook, it does not justify what we have done, and it is not a sign of weakness.

Forgiveness is a choice that takes courage and strength.

Let us pray:

Dear Heavenly Father,

I understand that there is nothing to gain by holding myself in unforgiveness and there is everything to gain by releasing myself from unforgiveness and beginning the process of healing.

I want to move forward and make a positive difference in the future. I confess the ungodly accountability, self-abasement, and the vows I have made to never forgive myself. Because Jesus died for my sins, I choose to forgive myself–to no longer punish myself and be angry with myself.

I forgive myself for letting this hurt control me and for hurting others out of my hurt. I repent of this behavior and my attitude. I ask for Your forgiveness and healing.

God, help me to NEVER again retain unforgiveness of myself or others.

Thank you for loving me and for Your grace to move forward with You.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

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