Daily Word of Grace #64 (June 12, 2020)

In his moving 1997 memoir Tuesdays with Morrie Mitch Albom recounts the conversations he had with Morrie Schwartz, his beloved sociology professor from Brandeis University.  As Morrie was dying of ALS, every Tuesday morning Mitch would fly from Michigan to Massachusetts, spend the afternoon with Morrie at the nursing home, then fly back to Michigan that night.  In one conversation Morrie spoke with Mitch about an often overlooked aspect of forgiveness: “It’s not just other people we need to forgive, Mitch,” he finally whispered.  “We also need to forgive ourselves.”  “Ourselves?”  “Yes.  For all things we didn’t do.  All the things we should have done.  You can’t get stuck on the regrets of what should have happened.  That doesn’t help you when you get to where I am… Forgive yourself.  Forgive others.  Don’t wait, Mitch.  Not everyone gets the time I’m getting.  Not everyone is as lucky” (166-167).  In many years of pastoral ministry, and yes my own life too, I have encountered countless instances of people withholding forgiveness from themselves, beating themselves up repeatedly for mistakes of the past.  On Good Friday Jesus died for the forgiveness of all our sins (Ephesians 1:7)—all of them, every single one of them—even those for which we have not forgiven ourselves.  Scripture is crystal clear that in response God calls us to forgive others just as we have already been forgiven by God (Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13)—and it is okay to include ourselves in that.  This is of the utmost importance, because not forgiving ourselves often hinders our ability to forgive others, so Morrie was exactly right when he told Mitch, “Don’t wait.”

Love and Prayers,