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Written by Vicki Hinze

On February 24, 2007

(Click HERE to return to Vicki Hinze’s main writing web site. ) Mypicture_4



We all make mistakes. Some are well-intentioned, some are self-serving, some are rooted in skewed or faulty logic, some are rooted in emotion, which also can be skewed or faulty.
And we’re human, so we focus on what is uppermost in our minds.

We’ve heard all the reasons why we should forgive, why it’s in our own best interests, and yet because some offenses inflict pain, push our triggers, we are hesitant or reluctant to do so. This is true when it comes to forgiving others, but equally true and sometimes even more so when it comes to forgiving ourselves.

In the spirit of true forgiveness, we often interpret that to mean that we “forgive and forget” and that leaves us open to that person hurting us or pushing our triggers or causing us further, future pain and challenges. Few of us are eager to embrace that, which raises the question of whether or not we can truly forgive.

I believe we can forgive, but we don’t forget. If we do forget, then we are subject to repeat performances. The stove is hot. We touch it, we get burned. We respect the heat, are grateful for it–its part in our nourishment to sustain life is important and worthy of gratitude. But that does not mean that we touch the hot stove and burn our hands again intentionally. We learn from our experience. We forgive transgressions, but we honor the lesson in the learning to prevent ourselves from being burned again.

Does that mean we shut ourselves off emotionally and physically? Perhaps, but more likely only in part. There are people in my life with whom I don’t associate because they are deliberately destructive, hurtful people. Yet I pray for them every day. Is that harboring a grudge? No. Does it reflect a lack of forgiveness? No, there is still an investment. Why is that necessary? Because I believe that we are all connected, all one, and what you do to others you do to yourself.

Where we get into quagmires that are more difficult to resolve are in those mistakes for which we do not forgive ourselves. We are pros at chewing over our mistakes until wads are wisps and then we store those wisps deep in our hearts and subconscious minds and every time we catch a whiff of anything that remotely pertains, we pull them out and chew ourselves up again. We neither forgive nor forget, and that is a huge disservice to us.

Our mistakes are our mistakes. We own them. That doesn’t mean we have to let them control our lives and chastise ourselves for the rest of our lives because we made them. It doesn’t mean that what we’ve done isn’t worthy of forgiveness–regardless of what the mistake happened to be. Yet we engage in downing ourselves and tainting everything good in us by our own condemnation. How is that helpful? Constructive? What good purpose is served?

The more we batter ourselves, the more unworthy of forgiveness we feel. And that just sends us sliding deeper into a pit that we must struggle to crawl out of. We know all about those pits. We know the toll they take on everything associated with us–our view of ourselves, our relationships with others, our sense of value and worth and our place in the world.

I’m not saying to ignore your responsibility for your actions. We are all accountable. I am saying that when you screw up, acknowledge it, accept it, own it, do what you can to correct any damage done to others and to yourself, and then forgive yourself. When you do, then you put the mistake in its rightful place in your past. You remember it, you take the wisdom gleaned from the experience forward with you, and then you press on, moving forward and looking forward.

Remember Joel Osteen’s comment about there being a reason the rearview mirror is small and the windshield is large? We need to focus on what is ahead to meet our potential, to serve our purpose. If we’re always looking back, that just can’t happen, and what we have done is effectively halt our progression. Why? Because if we’re focused on the past, then we’re not watching the path ahead. Now imagine you’re driving a car and you’re not watching the road. What is going to happen? What is inevitable?

You’re going to hit a ditch, miss a turn, collide with a fence, another vehicle, a lightpost, a parked car, or any of a thousand other things. You can call them accidents. Or you can call them mistakes.

I heard a discussion by Scientist Gregg Braden (THE GOD CODE) that can give us aid on forgiving ourselves. In a recent discovery, it has been learned that the DNA in every cell in every organism carries symbols that translate to ancient language text. When that text is translated, it literally says: “God eternal within the body.”

Think about that for a second. This message is coded in your DNA in every single cell in your body. Every single cell–no exceptions.

We’ve all heard a gazillion times from a gazillion resources that God is love. So what we’ve got is that love is eternal within the body. And isn’t love the key ingredient necessary for forgiveness? Love yourself, forgive yourself.

The principle is a simple one. We fight it, we argue and debate it–and we all know that those internal debates are a thousand times stronger than any outer debate could possibly be–and we deny it. But the truth remains–undaunted. It’s right there, as it has been our entire lives, so much a part of us it’s coded in our DNA, in our every cell.

And when we accept that and implement forgiveness what we discover is that the act is empowering.

Sometimes we harness that power and use it to create wonderful, wondrous things. Sometimes we forfeit it to outside influences. That will be the topic in Part 13 of Mistakes We Make.



©2007, Vicki Hinze

(Click HERE to return to Vicki Hinze’s main writing web site. )


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