Last fall, just as I was putting my finishing touches on my book about regret, a friend sent me a link to this blog post. The author, Chad Bird, suggests that we are deluding ourselves when we talk about forgiving ourselves:
“For a time I believed such advice. No more. I know now that to ‘forgive yourself’ is not only impossible; it is foolish, dangerous, and futile. It is the vain attempt of a soul plagued by guilt to seek relief in the very last place he should be looking: in himself. Telling a friend, ‘forgive yourself,’ is the equivalent of telling a dying person, ‘heal yourself.’ Absolution, like medicine, comes from outside of you, from the hand of a healer.
“My problem was not that I knew that God had forgiven me, but that I hadn’t forgiven myself. No, my problem was that I had never truly believed that God had forgiven me. That was the issue.”
I admire Bird’s writing, and as I read his words, I wholeheartedly agreed with him. And I disagreed with him. [Read more]