Letting Go of Guilt 2

B hat bordered



Welcome back!

Last week we began Fr. Peter Siamoo’s steps to forgiving ourselves, or granting ourselves mercy.


We covered:

  • Acknowledge what we’ve done.
  • Talk about it.
  • Learn from it.
  • Make peace with it.


This week we will continue with Father’s words.

Since we are social beings created for a purpose in life, any mistake we commit has three dimensions. It is against God, it offends and hurt others, and it hurt us. If we want peace to be restored after mistakes, then we need to touch or address those three dimensions, namely God, others, and oneself.

Ask for and accept forgiveness from God.


What kind of God do you believe in? The majority of religions including the three major world religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) believe in God who is loving and forgiving. Those religions have different ways of seeking and obtaining God’s forgiveness. (Sacrament of Reconciliation, Lent, Yom Kippur, Ramadan.) The common point is God readily forgives our transgressions when we sincerely ask for it.

Use whatever you are familiar with according to your faith tradition and seek God’s forgiveness to free yourself from the negativities of past mistakes.

Jesus said, “Ask, and you will receive; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7).

Forgive and request forgiveness from others.


Give forgiveness. Despite the hardship of forgiving major transgressions, choosing not to forgive is not an option for the spiritual, psychological, emotional, and even physical wellbeing of the offended.

The perpetrator has already wounded you. He or she does not have the credibility, dignity, nor honor to be remembered and carried in your heart all the time. We might occasionally remember them when we are praying for their conversion, asking God to change their hearts to make better choices for their sake and the sake of other people who might be the recipient of their poor choices, as we once were. Otherwise we need to let them go from our hearts.

What is the right thing to do when I feel that I cannot forgive, at least not for now? Do not condemn yourself by saying “I will never forgive!” Rather, it is better to tell yourself or the other person for that matter, “I do not feel ready at this time!” You need to process more. You may need help from a professional counselor, spiritual director, or your clergy to assist you as you explore and make a safe way out of that mess. It means you are not permanently putting yourself in the corner of “lack of inner peace” where you might not have an escape.

Be humble enough to ask for forgiveness. The scriptures indicate that God prefers reconciliation over sacrifice. We read, “Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.” (Matthew 5:23-24).


Since asking for forgiveness works whether the victim accepts your request or not, it gives you 100 percent control of the situation or process. This means you are not under the mercy of anybody while working to free yourself from the bondage of those negative emotions which rob you of your peace. This fact makes you ultimately in charge of the entire process of restoring your peace.

Forgive yourself


Do you remember the saying, “Charity begins at home?” If it is good for other people to be forgiven of their transgressions, it is good also for me to forgive my own transgressions. But forgiveness of self is a very unfamiliar concept to most of us.

Self-love is biblically mandatory and demands self-forgiveness: When our Lord was asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” He replied:

“The most important one is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Luke 10:27)

In summary, forgiving yourself after messing up is:

  • An act of appreciation for God’s love and forgiveness; it is accepting it and owning it
  • Self-love that restores your inner freedom and peace
  • A choice you make to acknowledge and accept God’s mercy and choose to treat yourself better than what you think you deserve for doing that wrong thing
  • Worth doing it because you are special and unique and therefore you deserve a better life than carrying guilt around
  • A way of imitating God who has forgiven you, and
  • Important to be happy, since life is short, and we should make the most out of it


Make amends


As a last step of the process of inner peace restoration, do something small or big, as the situation demands, to repair the damage and restore the relationship.

Where possible, pay back the whole of what is owed and repair the damage in full. More often it is impossible to make a full repair. In that case amends as a token should be made. It is necessary, acceptable, and enough.

It might demand further action to prevent future occurrences of the same mistake such as attending anger management classes, DUI classes, AA meetings, or seeking help from counseling professionals, etc.

As a closure of the process, making amends is intended to open a new page and start a new chapter of the restored relationship. Psychologically, it might make the perpetrator feel better that at least he did something positive to make up for the mistakes, and to the offended that the offender desires a new beginning and cares enough to do something about his mistakes.

Yes, being perfect is our call and our goal, but it is also true that no one is there yet. Demanding perfection of ourselves sets a path for hopelessness and despair which are a good recipe for low self-esteem and depression.

The point is, love yourself enough to forgive!


Thank you, Fr. Siamoo, for your wise words. We hope it won’t be long before your full book on this subject finds a publisher!


Next week, Works of Mercy. Blessings until then!






WordPress Themes