I got a ticket recently, my first in nearly 40 years. I never even noticed that stop sign and blew right through it. My stomach still turns when I think about it.
I immediately started beating up on myself.
Yes, everyone makes mistakes and accidents happen. Yes, pretty much every adult driver out there gets a ticket at least once every twenty years or so.
I hold myself to a higher standard than that. I’m a good driver, a careful driver, and getting that ticket, even being pulled over, sent me over the edge into flaming self-hatred.
I’m not even kidding here. I tend to expect a lot out of myself in most things, and if I blow it in pretty much any area I’m going to hate on myself worse than anyone else will ever hate on me.
I asked God’s forgiveness right away, but I absolutely, infuriatingly, could not forgive myself. I continued the self-abuse until I had a Come-to-Jesus meeting with God. The brief conversation went something like this.
God: What would I tell you if you were beating up on someone else the way you’re beating up on yourself?
Me: Tammy, that’s sin.
God: Tammy, the rules don’t change just because it’s you. Girl, that’s sin.
He’s told me this before, in various ways, but this time it hit almost like a glass of cold water in the face. Refusing to forgive myself is as wrong as refusing to forgive anyone else, and every bit as destructive.
It wasn’t easy to do. It took work on my part, but I stepped up and did it. I still hate the fact that I blew it, but at least that gut-churning self-hatred is gone.
We cannot afford to walk around in unforgiveness, my friends – towards anyone.