"I can't forgive myself." ~~ Martin B. Copenhaver
If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with you, so that you may be revered. Psalm 130:3-4
I often hear people say something along these lines: "I am finding it hard to forgive myself." Hard? How about impossible? As someone once put it, we can no more forgive ourselves than we can sit in our own laps. What we can do is receive the forgiveness of another. Forgiveness is not an achievement. It is always a gift. And that is part of what brings us to worship each week -- to receive the gift of God's forgiveness.
Someone I know left the church early in his adolescence, but difficult circumstances in his life prompted him to go back to worship -- just to check it out, mind you. He wasn't about to get carried away. He was wiling to make a small tentative step, however. He sat in the back pew, so he could observe. But when they came to the prayer of confession and he heard everyone say together, "We have done those things which we ought not to have done and we have left undone those things which we ought to have done," he smiled and said to himself, "Sounds just like my kind of crowd. I came to the right place."
PRAYER: Dear God, forgive me, because, try as I might, I am not able to forgive myself. Help me to receive forgiveness as the gift it is. Amen.
God Is Still Speaking: 365 Daily Devotionals, ed. Christina Villa (Cleveland: The Pilgrim Press, 2013), 2.