Another kind of trouble that comes from thinking we can be perfect
is when we find we cannot forgive ourselves. You know you've heard
it from others, and you may have heard it from yourself: "I know
that God forgives me, but I cannot forgive myself." I have always
thought that that stance is a prideful one, but I have always had
difficulty explaining why I think so. Maybe this time I will get
it right: If I say I cannot forgive myself (even though God, who
is supposed to be the Boss, does forgive me), by what standard am
I measuring what I have done? Am I saying, "Well, I am imperfect
so what I did is understandable"? Or am I saying, in effect, "I
have the capacity to be perfect, so what I did is unforgivable, no
matter what anybody says"? I believe that when we have been forgiven
by others and/or by God, but feel that we cannot forgive ourselves,
it is a prideful position to take. And I believe it comes from the
inner conviction that we should be perfect and that, unlike other
mortal beings, we have the capacity for that perfection. But we
cannot be perfect. So we should forgive ourselves, learn from it,
make restitution of one kind or another, and move on with our lives.
sermon "Forgive Us Our Sins,
As We Forgive Those Who Sin Against Us"
(The Lord's Prayer Series)
by The Rev. Canon William A. Kolb
the sermon in its entirety.