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Forgive yourself this Yom Kippur

9th October 2016 - Noahide, Prayer
Forgive yourself this Yom Kippur

‘The fault you find in others exists because of one you fail to see in yourself’.

I read that once, it has stuck with me. It seems fitting to start this post by highlighting that little nugget.
Next week is the holiday of Yom Kippur. As a non-Jew I can choose to let this day pass but I don’t, I remember it. Not as a Jew, I don’t fast, but as a person who can see the benefit in taking at least one day out of the year to spend time devoted to self examination and reflection with a mind to share the results with the Creator.

The Tanakh is full of the repentance message, the return theme. From Cain in Genesis 4 to 1 Kings 8 to Ezekiel 18 and on and on the message is clear, we have a Creator who wants us to guard our own minds, tongues and actions and who gives us the chance to set things right with Him even if we can’t set things right with our fellow man.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to Yom Kippur and I confess (no pun intended) that on previous years my focus has been on confession and praise. There is nothing wrong with that of course but what of forgiveness? We are after all counting on our Father in Heaven to remember His promise to forgive so why am I avoiding that in my own Yom Kippur dedications?

In some ways giving forgiveness is more important than asking for it. It’s a fact that in most cases the people we have issue with or hold a grudge for don’t even know we have a problem with them. The ‘problem’ we harbor in our minds and hearts does no damage to them, we can’t scoring any points.. but it will eat away at us. Our interaction with that person or anything to do with them (be it a singular human, company or family line) will start to change and the way we think and act soon start to change. The venom we think we are injecting into the ‘guilty’ party has started to poison us and slowly it will eat away until we are scarred for life.

But just what are we so annoyed about? The noisy one in the office? Maybe we need more patience. Maybe they feel they aren’t heard. Low self-esteem. Are we really annoyed at their level of activity? or are we frustrated that we aren’t the center of attention? The family member that has been so mean to us? Perhaps they are hurting over a choice we made, is it time to be the bigger person and take step forward? Even if that communication is permanently eroded, is it possible to let the bad feeling go and move on?
Most bad feeling comes from a place in with we feel slighted, some times it comes from defending another person or group. Often someone else has acted in a way that ‘I would never do anything like that!’ and the bench mark used to take the measure of a person is actually your own opinion of you. That foreign party, having failed the test, is now a sub-par person and you have them on the list. Another stone to carry in the pit of your stomach, stones with names like anger, hate, fear, sadness, frustration and panic.

Giving yourself a chance to reflect on these feelings is not only healthy in regards to your own life and enjoyment going forward but it’s also healthy in regards to your personal faith life and walk with the Creator. Taking a few minutes to remember those who you have a personal gripe or full blown war with then giving some time to ‘why’ what they did means you feel that way might, if you explore your own dark side and faults, lead you to a place in which you can say, ‘enough’.
That person might never know you have decided to let it go and forgive, but erasing that wedge of your emotional hard drive can and will leave you a better person with less stress, less hate and a lighter perspective on life.

If you decide to take this tack on Yom Kippur then it’s really important to remember one specific person. You.
Forgiving yourself is probably the hardest act. You will have made choices, committed deeds and said things to your self and others that you have been dwelling on for days, months and maybe years. You ask the Creator to forgive but you aren’t willing to do that yourself? Maybe you don’t ‘really’ believe the King of the Universe will keep His promise?

We are all left to do our own thing. He gives us the tools, brain, free will and conscience to build a life on this amazing planet. He didn’t make us robots. We make bad choices, some tiny and some huge. From rudeness to aggression, selfishness to jealously, pride to hate. BUT we are built to deal with those things. How? By examining what we did wrong, changing our ways, fixing the error and apologizing to those involved. When ever you do something ‘wrong’ – you are also an injured party and deserve the same soft wards and forgiveness as the others you have hurt.

Yom Kippor is a time when we, Jew and Non-Jew alike, can take time to get down and dirty in the muddy bits of our history, conscience and heart and give it a good clear out. Polish up those good feelings, wash off the bad ones and kick out the junk. You have another 365 days till you might do this again, so take your time, examine your own issues and throw those stones into the deepest sea.

5 thoughts on “Forgive yourself this Yom Kippur

Mary

Thank you

Reply
Sab

Could you please address the subject of abuse a parent to a child? They have always denied any wrong doing. We siblings find some peace by comforting each other. But as age, we tend to just put it out of mind.

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    JasonSB

    I think one of the point I was trying to make is that forgiveness comes from the forgiver. Forgiveness however isn’t something that can ‘fix’ things. I know the struggles and pain that come from a difficult family set up. We can certainly try to forgive a person for their actions, but we don’t have to and can choose to NOT allow that person room in your life. Forgiveness is about letting go. Sometimes we need to let go emotionally as well as physically. I hope this helped.

    Reply
David Yochanan

I have just resubscribed to your site and have been reading articles again.
I just want to say that I concur with you completely that it is possible for those of us who ar not actually Jewish but embrace Tanakh, Torah and the Hebrew way of life, the feast and approach to God are indeed practicing Judaism. I know that we will never be accepted by Orthodox Jews, so personally have given up trying.

I personally have some Jewish history, but am not halachically Jewish, I have been studying Judaism and Torah about 5 years now but cannot convert fr family reasons yet,
I made an ‘adoption’ to Humanistic Judaism (lke a conversion, but it won’t be accepted by many Jewish organisations, even though the Society for humanistic Judaism is accepted as part of US Jewish society, and it is a bona-fide ‘conversion’

I think that that is the best that I can do at the moment.
I would like an ‘identity’ f possible but I am not worried about Orthodox acceptance.
I think that your idea that we, whether Noahide, student of Kabbalah or whatever are indeed practicing Judaism, and for this we do not need the pemission of Jews, although of course we are probably very supportive of Israel and Jews, as I am.

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Jeff

Thanks so much, Jason !!

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