Forgiving Yourself

Tammy De Ruyter

READ : Isaiah 61:1-8

Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion . . . they shall have everlasting

joy. (v. 7)

Steve was assaulted with nightmares. The guilt for his role in that long-ago crime
tortured his mind. Often he woke up drenched in sweat. His waking hours seemed like a bad
dream; when he fell asleep, it was worse.

What memory robs you of joy? What conversation triggers deep stabs of pain? What past
event stirs depression, remorse, or bad dreams? “When our memory controls us, we are then
the puppets of the past,” writes Alexandra Asseily, a peace activist and psychotherapist
in Beirut, Lebanon.

Only by actively engaging our memories through confession are we able to truly heal
them. Memories don’t disappear, but the pain can. Asseily continues, “Forgiveness lets us
let go of the pain of the memory . . . we can have the memory, but it doesn’t control

Isaiah 61 is a chapter of promise and proclamation. It gave the Israelites hope for the
future. Isaiah assures his people they will one day be free from their Babylonian

Our hope is here. The Messiah has come. “In Christ,” grace sets us free from captivity,
from the powerful bonds of sin and shame. When we follow Jesus, we give him our lives, all
of it. There is nothing he doesn’t already know, nothing that separates us from his love
(Rom. 8:35). Tell Jesus your story. He forgives you. Ask him to help you forgive


Lord, we know you forgive us. Help us to forgive ourselves.