Do you have trouble forgiving yourself? Maybe it’s pride

February 5, 2015

divineconspiracyIs Dallas Willard describing me in the following words about forgiveness?

I have a hard time forgiving myself, and Willard says it’s not because of my great humility (as I’d hoped) but pride: I’m unwilling to accept that God and my fellow human beings have to relate to me on some basis other than the fact that I’m a terrific human being whom they just love to be around. Sure, at one point in my life I needed God’s grace and mercy, but surely by now I’ve turned the corner, paid off all my debts, and am now “in the black,” morally speaking—carrying my own weight, proving to God and society how worthy I am.

My sins, therefore, expose a truth that I don’t want to face.

Today we sometimes speak of people who cannot forgive themselves. Usually, however, the problem is much deeper. More often than not, these are people who refuse to live on the basis of pity. Their problem is not that they are hard on themselves, but that they are proud. And if they are hard on themselves, it is because they are proud. They do not want to accept that they can only live on the basis of pity from others, that the good that comes to them is rarely “deserved.” If they would only do that, it would transform their lives. They would easily stop punishing themselves for what they have done.[†]

Dallas Willard, The Divine Conspiracy (New York: HarperOne, 1997), 263-4.

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