Own It

OwnItTherefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. —James 5:16

I recently had a situation where someone offended me to the point where I could feel the heat in my neck and face. I couldn’t resist the urge to respond in a snide manner. But right when I was about to open my mouth, this person gave me a sincere, “I’m really sorry. I have no excuse.” I instantly felt the calm and relief come over me.  We all know the amazing power of a simple apology to quench bitterness and anger, particularly without any excuses or “but.” There is something so incredibly freeing in those moments.

As I’ve reflected on my own and other women’s stories, I’ve come to realize that one of our greatest needs is to repent to ourselves and God. We are often stuck in blame and shame rather than the conviction which comes from the Holy Spirit. I’ve seen it gridlock our relationships for the sake of being right or to wear a badge of being the injured.

This lack of repentance just festers more pain and/or bitterness for ourselves. It may feel that the pain we allowed was too great to own it. So just as we sometimes have to do for others, we may have to speak forgiveness to ourselves every day until we can fully rest in His grace. But we must flee from the deceit and ungodliness of not fully and daily speaking our transgressions and to return to the calm, peace, and joy in the Good News of His Grace. In my own life, I have found that once I am able to fully accept my wrongs and rest in His grace, it becomes easier for me to offer forgiveness to others.

Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy. —Proverbs 28:13

Dr. Beth Ackerman is the Associate Dean, School of Education, at Liberty University.


  1. 7 months ago
    Shemeika Jacobs says says

    I was adopted when.I was child. God.has blessed me.with great parents. My mother was a minister an father was Police Officer. I always thought about my birth mother.for years and what was her reasons.of giving.me up.for.adoption. God had other plans…. This my story and.I hope you will embrace the power of forgiveness. I.was praying my daily morning prayer and I received a phone call. The rep said , Is your name shemeika?, I said, yes. The rep said, your sister is looking for you… Now remember I never knew I had a sister. Guess what!!!! My sister is.a believer… We meet last year on March 2013, and there is more. We have another sister, she is 17 yrs old. My point is this … Forgive, and allow.God to heal the heart. Pray often to out Heavenly Father, and alllow the Holy Spirit to work in you.

  2. 7 months ago
    Rose Bain says

    My feeling are hurt every day by the woman who gave birth to me. I have tried and tried to over-look her meanness to no avail. There is never a sorry or forgiveness in her vocabulary to me. It is very sad to become your parents keeper with no satisfaction. Enough said. I just have to give her to the Lord and be done with it.

    • 7 months ago
      Naomi says

      Rose, we are our parents “keepers” aren’t we, But we are not our parents. We often parent the way we were parented. I don’t know how your Mom was parented, but she may be doing all she knows to do. ep Pray for your Mom. Let her know when she hurts you, she probably has no idea. Pray that God changes her heart, but also that he changes yours. Ask him to give you the words to speak to your Mom. Tell him that she hurts you with her words and ask him to heal the brokenness and hurt feelings. When she says hurtful things, ask God to forgive her immediately, say it aloud so that she hears. Eventually, she will understand… Recite, “Love is patient, love is kind…” This too shall pass…

  3. 7 months ago
    Mary says

    Right on, Dr. Ackerman!

    Seeking amends and offering forgiveness is so important that the founders of AA included it not once but four times Steps 4, 8, 9 and 10) when they penned the 12 steps. It is hard to stay sober when you carry resentments and haven’t tried to patch up wrongs that you made in the past.

    In step 4, we take a fearless and moral inventory (including our resentments) and in step 10, we continue to take a daily inventory (and when we were wrong – promptly admit it).

    So, every morning, I sit with pen and tablet and write up the good and the bad of the day before which helps to keep that blame and shame that you wrote about, at bay.

    However, I noticed recently that an old resentment was creeping back into my life that flew under the radar of my step 10 “ritual.” And your words nailed it because it did “gridlock” a certain relationship for the sake of ME being right AND to wear a badge of being the injured.

    God definitely used your words to help remind me of where I am currently and of some of the harder work that I need to do in order to be free of this resentment. And I think part of this work, was to respond back to your post here online.

    Thank you!

    Mary R
    Pittsburgh, PA

  4. 7 months ago
    Susan says

    I will never forgive myself for the way I treated my mother. I was taking care of her, my 1 year old grandson, dealing with my verbally abusive husband and working a full time job. None of this was in “my plan”. My mother could no longer drive I made excuses not to take her to church, when she was dressed waiting to go! I was to busy to deal with her. Now keep in mind she was a wonderful women. She never said a word. I can only imagine how I must have hurt her. I deserve every bad thing that happens to me. I ask her to forgive me for everything I did. Of course being the women she was she said she did. She died three days later. I can’t change the awful wrong I’ve done. How can The Lord want anything to do with me. It’s been 14 years since her passing. I think of the pain I caused every day of my life.

    • Precious Susan,
      When you were too busy to take your mother to church she had a private communion with her Lord. She saw your pain of living with an abusive husband while you were weary from working full time and caring for your grandson. She was actively lifting you up in prayer before her God. Not going to church did not prohibit her fellowship with the God she loved and she was able to pray for the daughter she loved.
      Romans 8:1 tells us that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:6 For the mind set set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace. You ask how can the LORD want anything to do with you? His love has been perfected on the cross for us. Colossians 2:13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.
      We have victory in thought and over sin because of what Jesus has accomplished on the cross. Not because of me, only Him, only grace. To God be the glory.

    • 7 months ago
      Chris says

      I am praying for you. For us to move forward in freedom, digging deep to forgive ourselves and seek God’s healing is crucial. I pray you find a great Christian pastor, friend, or counselor that can help you through this! NOTHING is too big for God. A scripture that may encourage you is Psalm 40:1-3 I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire, he set my feet on a rock, and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.
      Don’t know if you’ll get this reply. God loves you Susan and I will be praying for you.

    • 7 months ago
      Karin says

      Susan, I hope you can forgive yourself. It’s the enemy of our souls, Satan, who keeps tormenting you. The Lord has forgiven you; your mom is with Him in glory. We all make mistakes; that’s why Jesus paid the price for our sins.

    • 7 months ago
      Naomi says

      Susan, your mother being the kind of mother that you describe here, knew your heart and knew the pressure that you were under. Forgive yourself, I am sure she did. She has gone on to a better place and I know that she would not want you to carry this burden. Let it go, and ask God to give you peace in this. You do not deserve bad things to happen to you, Jesus paid the price on the cross. Ask for forgiveness and leave your troubles at the cross. You can’t handle the pain an pressure, but God can. He has already forgiven you… When we remain where we are, we block our own blessings. God wants to pour into you, let it go…