This past week, I was on my way to a teacher’s conference in
As I sat in the warm truck, a question began to form in my mind. As teachers, don’t we give kids grace when they make a mistake? When we do the same, whether we have control over the situation or not, shouldn’t we give ourselves the same grace? At my school, we work hard to teach the next generation to obey the golden rule. But we forget the silver lining in it. If we personalize it for ourselves, it asks us to “Do to yourself as you would do to others.” What would this look like?
Two verses in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians focus directly on our responsibilities towards each other and ourselves. My paraphrase of Ephesians 4:31-32 goes a little bit like this.
“Forgive your friends, enemies and yourself because in Christ, God has already forgiven you. All bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, slander, and all forms of malice are history. Therefore, be kind and compassionate to one another.” Isn’t it better this way?
The effect of being forgiven is amazing. Like removing a huge weight from around our shoulders, the feeling of forgiveness is certainly underrated. We all agree that we should do it more often, but forgiving ourselves is and always will be difficult in a society that demands perfection of its members. What makes it worse is that we demand perfection of ourselves. Therefore, Bible teacher Chuck Swindoll's (see Insight for Living) hypothesis that, “we are the last to forgive ourselves” makes sense.
But if we remember the silver rule we may find forgiving our friends, enemies and especially ourselves much easier.
"If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of