Excusing and Condemning

Written by on May 8, 2013

Cec MurpheyAt an Oregon Christian Writers Conference last August, I had the pleasure of meeting Cec Murphey, veteran author/co-author of more than 130 books, including the New York Times bestseller 90 Minutes in Heaven (with Don Piper) and Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story. Today he’s our guest blogger.

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About a month ago I moved over to the left-turn lane to get on the ramp for I-85. Just then, a Lexus pulled ahead of my Honda and I had to hit my brake to avoid hitting that car.

A few days ago I was driving north in downtown Atlanta where two expressways split. It was one of those tricky situations where I had less than half a mile to move two lanes to the left to get on I-85. The traffic was heavy behind me and the only way I could figure out how to do that was to hit the gas pedal and pull in front of a car.

The man gave me a long blast on his horn. I gestured to say I was sorry but I don’t know if it did any good.

As I drove along, I started to laugh. When someone cut me off, I became upset and grumbled about people who didn’t look ahead. When I did it, I knew my reasons and excused myself.

By contrast, when I do something unkind or mean-spirited, I castigate myself for days. “I knew better.” I pray and know God forgives me, but I’m not always compassionate toward myself.

And yet a friend recently offended me by an extremely critical remark. Afterward I thought about it, and said to myself, “That’s just his way. He didn’t mean to hurt my feelings.” I forgave him.

Odd, isn’t it? It shows me my contradictory nature, but I’m also learning. When a driver cuts me off, I say, “He must be late for an appointment or maybe she’s having a bad day.”

My problem is forgiving myself when I do something contrary to my own values. I’m learning to say, “I forgive you, Cec. That’s just the way you are, but you’re going to change and not do it again.”

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Friends,  in what area do you find it the most difficult to forgive yourself?

Connect with Cec Murphey at:  www.cecilmurphey.com/

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Comments
  1. Paul   On   May 8, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    What an insightful post Cec. The area where I find it most difficult to forgive myself have been when I discover my action fails to reflect the words I preach. Wasn’t it St. Francis of Assisi who said “There’s no use walking somewhere to preach when you’re walking isn’t preaching. I feel that the more I distance myself from the Scripture, the more I find myself living an inauthentic life. Sometimes, I found myself castigating myself like apostle Paul. My tendency to belittle and downgrade myself have been too harsh at times. I have become a lot more forgiving and accepting that I’m not a perfect human being. Rather than striving for perfectionism, I will focus more on doing my very best.

  2. Nancey West   On   May 10, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Wow, good post and good response by Paul. I agree with Paul. I feel guilty when I don’t practice what I preach. I also have one area of my life that I can’t seem to get under control and I can’t forgive myself for that failure.

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