What is the best way to be brutally honest with yourself without feeling sorry for yourself or seeing yourself as the victim? I think you should always take full responsibility for your sins. Guilt and regret to me are symptoms of a healthy conscience. For someone like me I can repeatedly beat myself up forever for doing something wrong. Doing something wrong or sinning should not be taken lightly, then again, it is not the end of the world. I think of how I could have done this, that or this, but I did not. It becomes harder for me to admit I am wrong, because it makes me feel terrible. I do not like considering all the alternative ways I could have done this, that and this. It drives me nuts. I am in my early 20s and I still hold on to things for my early to late teens. I do not think I deserve to be punished for ever, time has gone by.
I may not be helpful with this suggestion but I do mean it as encouragement to you. Confession is the answer to your issues, once your have been absolved and complete your penance you should be able to put it behind you and move on. God has provided us this wonderful sacrament so that we can confess, be forgiven and go forward. I urge you to take your concerns to the confessional and talk it over with your priest.
Humility is about acknowledging who you really are in respect to who God is. We all know there is in INFINITE gap between us and Him…it’s ok! The sacrament of confession allows you to tap into that and grow, mature, and change.
But a healthy acknowledgement/inventory of ourselves comes first. God knows who we are…don’t beat yourself up. He said, “without me you can do nothing”. Every time we sin we are really trying to “go at it alone”. Confession allows Him to help us!
So look at humility as simply acknowledging who we are…which God already knows and using the great gift of confession which He gave us knowing who we are and what we need.
This is a relationship between a Father and a child…so please don’t keep beating yourself up. A good Father wouldin’t want you to! He just wants you to come running to Him so He can scoop you up and kiss the boo-boos.
There are some sins from my early years that I still suffer from. I wish I could blot them out of my mind forever. This is actually something I’m trying to deal with, today, so it’s timely for me.
I think it’s just an unwillingness to be healed, at least on my part. I have difficulty thinking about those things, and it causes me to hate them due to my embarrassment of them, and to disrespect that part of my history. I at least need to be able to better own up to it and throw it at God’s feet for forgiveness. I think if I can’t own up to my own sins and just say “there, God, is the worst of it, without excuses. Forgive it, please,” then I will always struggle with this.
Perhaps reading the book of Tobit may help you. Consider the archangel Raphael, how he moves among the two families and provides healing for them. Consider the way they were falling to pieces, and then the beauty that comes about after they are finally healed. If nothing else, have faith that in the next life your wounds will be healed, and just trust in that.
I love that imagery! When we fall to sin, It is good for us to remember the parable of the prodigal son, who we all are at one point or another, and that when he came home, his Father not only welcomed him, but he actually ran to meet him on the road and took him in his arms rejoicing that his son who had been lost was now found.
Many of us have similar memories and feelings. I’m 55 and when I think of things I did as a teen, I still feel regret. I was monstrous! And foolish. Fortunately, as time goes by, I think less often about those things.
We can’t go back in time and make our past lives better, but we can do better in the here and now, taking steps toward a better life. I guess that is some consolation. Fix your attention on your objectives. If you are traveling and wander off the path and get yourself lost, don’t brood forever on your wrong turns; you need to check the map (or the GPS) and figure out how to get to your destination from where you are at this moment.
Sometimes we do need to analyze our “wrong turns,” in order to avoid them in the future, but we must not let that distract us from living in the present and working toward a better future.
Finally, trust God in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. As he forgives you, so should you forgive yourself. God’s forgiveness does not erase all the memories and regrets, but it may help us to leave them behind. It is called a Sacrament of Healing. If you do not feel that it facilitates your spiritual and emotional healing, you should look for that healing, perhaps with the help of the priest or a spiritual director.
I’m praying for you!