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.


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.”


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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  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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