On September 17, Rosh Hashanah began which is the Jewish New Year. On September 25 at sundown, Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement will begin. For Jews, this time of year is the High Holy Days, a time for serious introspection, of turning inward to consider mistakes and failings of the previous year. It is a time for atonement and to ask for forgiveness.
My first real experience with atonement and forgiveness was when I started working the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. Until then, when I told someone I was sorry or asked for forgiveness I did so because it was the socially acceptable thing to do. Or I was telling people what I thought they wanted to hear. Thus, before AA, my trying to atone for causing someone harm came more from a selfish intellectual level than a spiritual one.
With the help of my AA sponsor, I learned to sincerely right my relationships. I found inside myself the desire to return to, and stay in, right relationship with others. I can still hear my sponsor’s voice telling me that making amends without changing my behavior would never be enough. One consequence would be people’s unwillingness to forgive me for the same hurtful behavior over and over and over.
My experiences in AA and in ministry have taught me that before I can seek forgiveness from others, I must first forgive myself. Further, without knowing how to forgive myself, I am not truly able to forgive others.
So I ask you, during these High Holy Days, do you need to forgive yourself? Is there anyone you need to approach, sincerely, to ask for forgiveness? Is someone in your life seeking to make amends to you? Maybe there is someone you can to forgive.
I will close with a short prayer;
May you have the charity to forgive yourselves, the courage to ask for forgiveness and the compassion to forgive others.
As always I would love to hear from you. You can message me on Facebook at Monica Cummings, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment for me on the YaYA of Color blog, UU Living Mosaic at http://uuyayaoc.blogs.uua.org/.