Practicing Forgiveness to Overcome Our Natural Tendency to Protect Ourselves

Living Well Though Lent - Living Compass

Reflection by Scott Stoner

Forgiveness is multi-faceted and is something that touches every aspect of wellness, including spiritual, emotional, relational, and physical. 

Given the complexity of the topic of forgiveness, each Monday for the next six weeks we will introduce a different dimension of forgiveness to reflect on as a focus and spiritual practice for the week. This will be based on an aspect of forgiveness addressed by one of our guest writers in that week’s Sunday reflection. 

Yesterday Trawin Malone reflected on the biblical reading assigned for the first Sunday in Lent where Jesus is facing temptation in the wilderness. Near the end of his reflection he asks us this hard question: “How does the temptation to protect our power, possessions, and prestige keep us from forgiving ourselves and others?” Based on this provocative question, our practice for this week is focused on the aspect of forgiveness that requires us to examine and overcome our natural tendency to protect ourselves. 

If someone has hurt our feelings, one way we might protect ourselves is by simply distancing ourselves from that person. Sometimes this may be the appropriate response, but at other times it could be that we are protecting ourselves by holding on to a grudge when a healthier, more vulnerable, choice would be to have an honest conversation with the person to begin the process of forgiveness.

Making It Personal: How do you see the theme of forgiveness connecting to the idea that we need to overcome our natural tendency to protect ourselves? Have you ever held a grudge as a form of self-protection? Are you holding on to one right now? If so, is there a different choice you would like to make?

Follow along with us this Lent season with our daily devotional and engage in discussion in our closed facebook group moderated by The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner & The Rev. Jan Kwiatowski.

In this group, participants will have a chance to share their responses to the prompts in the daily readings, and also the chance to receive additional material for reflection.


Living Well Through Lent 2019
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