About three years ago I damaged our brand-new car. As soon as we brought it home, my husband realized it wouldn’t fit in the garage, but I wasn’t convinced. So, I waited until he went to work to see for myself. I was pretty sure I could make it fit. And, my first eight or ten practice attempts were successful. However, disaster struck when, on the next try, I wedged the car in at such an angle that I couldn’t get unstuck. I bashed the back end up pretty well, and left considerable damage.
I knew I had been willful and sneaky. Impulsive “I will do what I want to” thoughts had plagued me for years. Through this crack in character I often found myself in trouble and I had been praying for some time to stop my tendency toward willfulness. This time, so upset about what I had done, I became ill with a high fever on the third night.
The thing about sin (and that is what stubborn will is – sin: a sense of being out of step with God, good) is that until we see evil, darkness, negative influence as powerless, and acknowledge the presence and light of good - and conform ourselves to the power of this light, - we won’t come out from under its supposed influence.
I needed to get a better sense of God as Good and of myself as the reflection of good only. Now, I am not talking about good as some halfway point between bad and great, but actual good - the divine attribute of spiritual soundness, a no-cracks good that is unrestricted, uninhibited wholeness.
That is where I anchored my prayer that night. In God as Good and giving me all I needed to conform to the standard of good. I simply let that light sink in and spread to the core of my being. I prayed until I felt a fundamental shift in how I saw myself.
The car was still damaged and my husband was still upset, but I forgave myself. Letting go of the idea that I could harbor a personal weakness hidden from the light of Good, I forgave – that is, I let go of agonizing over – acts of willfulness, past and present, and the belief that I must act out of willfulness in the future.
Yes, this was a shake-up. It wasn’t fun. But what a difference between the before and after! I The freedom from willfulness – the healing of that fissure in my character through the influx of divine light revealing my spiritual wholeness as the child of God, good – made it all worthwhile.
Don’t be afraid to let in the light – and to let it all the way in. It may shake you up. It will wake you up. And it will leave you in better shape for it.
This story is also recounted in greater detail in an article I wrote, entitled "We acknowledge God's forgiveness..."
Also, I highly recommend a spirituality.com chat by Diane Marrapodi, CSB entitled, "Why should I forgive?"
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