Jesus challenges us to forgive everyone we know and even those we don’t know and to be very careful not to forget even one against whom we harbor ill will. Right now someone exists who has disappointed and offended us, someone with whom we are continually displeased and with whom we are more impatient, irritated, unforgiving, and spiteful when we would dare be with anyone else. That person is ourselves.
We are so often fed up with ourselves. We’re sick of our own mediocrity, revolted by our own inconsistency, bored by our own monotony. We would never judge any other of God’s children with the savage self-condemnation with which we crush ourselves. Jesus said we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. We must be patient, gentle, and compassionate with ourselves in the same way we try to love our neighbor.
Through an intimate, heartfelt knowledge of Jesus Christ we learn to forgive ourselves. To the extent we allow His kindness, patience, and trust toward us to win us over, we’ll be freed from the dislike of ourselves that follows us everywhere.
It is simply not possible to know the love of Jesus for us unless we alter our opinions and feelings about ourselves and side with Him in His all-accepting love for us. Christ’s forgiveness reconciles us with Him, with ourselves, and with the whole community. According to Bernard Bush, one way to know how Jesus feels about you is this: If you love yourself intensely and freely, then your feelings about yourself correspond perfectly to the sentiments of Jesus.
~Brennan Manning, “The Signature of Jesus”