We must for­give our­selves

Jamaica Gleaner - - FEATURE - CON­TRIB­UTED

“YOU MUST not look into the eye of the ser­pent for too long. He will mes­merise you, and he will strike you.” That’s a loose trans­la­tion of a T.S. Eliot sen­ti­ment that I can­not lo­cate. But it is im­por­tant for dis­cus­sion and shap­ing our at­ti­tude to life.

I don’t be­lieve that any­one can con­cen­trate on neg­a­tiv­ity and crit­i­cism of sin for too long. This is why Je­sus came to Earth and lifted the bur­den of sin for all of us. We must look at our sins for a while, truly re­gret them, as best as pos­si­ble put them aside, and, move for­ward. But to be mes­merised by our sins, and to wal­low in guilt is not good.

We must al­low the Lord to for­give our sins, and we our­selves should for­give our­selves and oth­ers for what wrong has been done, then move for­ward.


That is the great les­son to learn from Je­sus’ treat­ment of Mary Mag­da­lene and the scribes and Pharisees. Yes, you have sinned. You have com­mit­ted adul­tery. But you are for­given. You have loved much; sin no more. You must go for­ward and con­tinue to love even more, but sin no more (John 8:11). As for the scribes and Pharisees who con­demned her and even Je­sus for for­giv­ing her sins, “Those of who are with­out sin: cast the first stone.” (John 8:7)

Let us not keep gaz­ing at our sins. Let us ad­mit them and let God and oth­ers for­give them. Move for­ward! We don’t want to live in con­dem­na­tion and beat our chests for too long. There are too many good things to do in build­ing the king­dom of God.

The worst re­sponse to sin and hurt is to not for­give oth­ers and our­selves. All of us who have been of­fended need to for­give oth­ers. It is hu­man to sin, di­vine to for­give. None of us is with­out sin.

I re­ally be­lieve that we will crip­ple oth­ers and be crip­pled if we do not for­give and are not for­given for our wrong.

Je­sus was sin­less. But He took on to Him­self every crit­i­cism and even the guilt of other peo­ple. “I am guilty,” he seemed to say. He ate with tax col­lec­tors and pros­ti­tutes. He broke the Sab­bath to heal oth­ers and hung on the cross be­tween mur­der­ers. He was con­stantly talk­ing with hyp­ocrites and Sa­mar­i­tans and those who be­trayed and even con­demned Him.

How good you are, Lord! How faith­ful! Adul­tery, pride, cov­etous­ness, jeal­ousy, envy, sloth, anger – all those pas­sions and sins we have, He’ll take them on. He took the ini­tia­tive to for­give them.

I for­give you! I for­give you! I for­give you! What joy! What hap­pi­ness! The Lord loves me and wants me to con­tinue to serve Him! I could weep, I could cry with joy!

Je­sus looks at us pos­i­tively, even when we have sinned, and re­jects those who con­demn those who err or who have sinned.

‘We must al­low the Lord to for­give our sins, and we our­selves should for­give our­selves and oth­ers for what wrong has been done, then move for­ward.’

Fa­ther Ho Lung and res­i­dents singing and prais­ing God for His good­ness at Good Shep­herd Home.

Fr Richard HoLung

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