Forgiveness of Self

What is the Root Cause of Your Worry?

A scene from an episode of the final season of "Mad Men" captures a self-doubt moment beautifully. The exchange is between the protagonist, Don Draper and that of his protégée, Peggy Olsen. She recently turned thirty years old and, like most of us, life had not turned out how she expected it would. Peggy has a moment of self-doubt, one to which Draper responded…

"I worry about a lot of things. But I don't worry about you."

Worry. We have a lot of it in life. We worry about our jobs, our families, our place in this world and our recovery if we struggle with addictions, disorders and compulsions. We worry, even though "fear not" is mentioned by God numerous times in scripture. We cannot seem to help it.

So, where does all of this worry stem from? How about from a thought? Check yourself and see if you have ever thought some of these things about yourself.

"I'm nobody special…"

This is a biggie, hitting our core identity and our value. Most of us have encountered lying thoughts about ourselves here. Bullying, abuse and peer pressure often lead us to believe we're worthless and unwanted.

"Fat" or "Beautiful" ?

I recently caught a documentary on sex symbol Bettie Page. In it, the withdrawn, elderly phenomenon recounted her entire life, including her racy photographs and films which catered to bondage, nudity and fetish culture.

According to Ms. Page's commentary, she initially tried the conventional methods first. However, the well- known Ford modeling agency rejected her. Founder Eileen Ford, herself, flat out told Bette she was too short and "too hippy."

So, Bettie turned to the more controversial avenue, which subsequently launched her into being the pop culture icon she is today.

And, due to her influence, there are numerous photos flooding the internet, with captions including, "Today, we'd call her fat."

It's makes for a strong body image message. Indeed, looking at her image, what is our response? Do we think she's fat?

Likewise, there's the legendary sex symbol, Marilyn Monroe. She was reportedly a size 12 or 14. Some even speculate she was a size 16!

Again, when we see her, when we are faced with her numbers, what's our first reaction?

She's beautiful?

Is it Possible to Actually Seek Rejection?Premium Content

"Actors search for rejection. If they don't get it, they reject themselves."
~Charlie Chaplin


As someone with a theater background, I've often encountered rejection.

I've endured many auditions and have heard my fair share of no. I didn't look the part, sound the part, I couldn't get a handle on a certain accent or I simply was not "good enough."

Ah, yes, "good enough." For many of us perfectionists and/or recovering addicts, this little phrase cuts right to the core.

In one way or another, we are recovering from something in life. And yes, it's often fueled by rejection.

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Do You Have a Broken Wing?Premium Content

It is quite probable that someone reading my words this moment is fighting an inner battle with a ghost from the past. The skeleton in one of yesterday's closets is beginning to rattle louder and louder. Putting adhesive tape around the closet and moving the bureau in front of the door does little to muffle the clattering bones. You wonder, possibly, "Who knows?" You think, probably, "I've had it... can't win... party's over."

The anchor that tumbled off your boat is dragging and snagging on the bottom. Guilt and anxiety have come aboard, pointing out the great dark hulks of shipwrecks below. They busy themselves drilling worry-holes in your hull and you are beginning to sink. Down in the hold, you can hear them chant an old lie as they work: "The bird with the broken pinion never soared as high again. . . ."

Allow me to present a case in opposition to these destructive and inaccurate accusers. It may be true that you've done or experienced things which would embarrass you if they became public knowledge. You may have committed a terrible and tragic sin that was never traced back to you. You may have a criminal record or a moral charge or a domestic conflict that, to this moment, is private information.

You may wrestle with a past that has been fractured and wounded by a mental or emotional breakdown. Futile attempts at suicide may add to the previous scar tissue and increase your fear of being labeled "sick" or "nervous." It is possible that you live with memories, covered now by the sands of time, of an illicit relationship or a financial failure or a terrible habit or a divorce or a scandalous involvement. You feel that any one of these things might mar or cripple your reputation if the dirty details ever spilled on the table of gluttonous gossipers.

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"I Think You are Wonderful!" (self-esteem)Premium Content

I recently came across this child's drawing once sent to the legendary Marilyn Monroe. Children often get right to the truthful point.

"I think you are wonderful."

What an astounding thought. Yet, how many of us experience that sentiment?

Yeah.

Most of us struggle with this positive self-image thing. We may have had negative people and experiences in which we were told- and believed- the exact opposite. Coping with that pain, therefore, it's no surprise some of us have turned to our addictions, disorders and any number of "comforting" vices. We want to feel we are wonderful. And the drug, the drink, the food or any other object of our desire supposedly tells us precisely that.
Meanwhile, however, we completely lose sight of a Truth, if we ever knew about it in the first place. God already thinks we're wonderful.

He thinks that…about us… right now. And God isn't short on these kinds of thoughts…

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Have You Forgiven Yourself?Premium Content

I remember the first time I forgave myself. It was about four years ago.

I had sinned greatly. Repented deeply. Did everything God called me to here. But I couldn't escape the torment. The weight of the sin was crushing me. I didn't know if I would survive. I didn't understand why.

I went to a dear Christian girlfriend to confess. She listened carefully, prayerfully, and said, "You haven't forgiven yourself."

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Why Am I Stuck In Unforgiveness?Premium Content

I have been on this journey of forgiveness for quite a few years now, and this week, God showed me forgiveness was not at completion. Not for lack of trying, for sure. But still I am shocked at the length and depth of the process.

I do know that some things that God requires us to forgive will be a longer deeper process than other things. If we have been hurt by someone close to us, like a spouse, parent, child, or dear friend, or if the pain has been repeated and protracted, or if the tragedy occurred when we were a child or adolescent, or if the trauma was particularly heinous or the loss very profound, the process of forgiveness will be longer and require more of us.

Like you, I have a number of people and incidences to forgive. I will focus on just one offender right now for simplicity.

I started years ago with the first step of forgiveness: release. Releasing the offender to God.

"Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. Romans 12:19

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What Do You Think Jesus Wants You to Do?Premium Content

"My Yoke Is Easy."

What do you think Jesus wants you to do?

I'm not thinking of specific choices like whether to have pizza or turkey for lunch (I don't think He cares). But in terms of overall life choices and directions, what do you think He wants? There are probably a lot of answers to that question, but I'm thinking of one right now that I'll bet nobody else mentioned.

I think He wants me to quit. (It's okay if you're surprised.)

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

The scripture above is one of the most well-known passages in the bible. It's a source of comfort to folks who are buried under the weight of illness, despair, and impossible expectations. But it's even more comforting when we understand the historical context.

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Are You Experiencing True Guilt or False Guilt?Premium Content

We must differentiate between true guilt, and false guilt. Listen to how Paul differentiates between the two:

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness; to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done.2 Corinthians 7:10-11


Before we investigate these types of guilt, I would like to give you an overview.

  • 1. True guilt. Corinthians calls this Godly sorrow in the NIV, or sorrow that is according to the will of God in the NASB.
  • 2. False guilt. Corinthians calls this worldly sorrow in the NIV, or sorrow of the world in the NASB.
    Within false guilt I see two categories:
      a. Deliberate pretended guilt.
      b. Imposed guilt. This is guilt that we, the world, and other people impose upon ourselves.
  • Let's explore.

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    The Reservoir of Christ in MePremium Content

    The longer I walk with Jesus; my Elder Brother, Lord and Savior, the more I need strengthening from the inside out! "Out of our innermost being flows the river of life." This flow of life is more than abundant and it is always and only experienced from the inside out. And it always has its origin and power in the reservoir of Christ in me! So why do I seem to persist in my veiled attempt at living from the outside in?

    16I desire for you to realize what the Father has given you from His own limitless resources, so that you may be dynamically reinforced in your inner being by the Spirit of God.

    17 This will impact your faith with capacity to fully grasp the reality of the indwelling Christ. You are rooted and founded in Love. Love is your invisible inner source just like the root system of a tree and the foundation of a building. (The dimension of your inner person exceeds any other measure that could possibly define you.)

    18 This is your reservoir of super human strength which causes you as saints to collectively grasp (come to terms with, make one’s own) the limitless extent of His love in breadth, in length, in height (rank), and the extremities of its depths.

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