They were little girls, sisters actually, just 13 months apart in age. The older child loved to take care of the younger, but the younger girl didn’t appreciate that very much. She was the youngest of seven children, and she had enough people bossing her around; she didn’t want another one. Every chance she got, she rebelled against the mothering of her slightly older sister.
So she pinched and sassed her sister, year after year. Until finally, after many years, the caretaker stopped her ministrations, and the rift between the sisters grew wide.
Eventually they both grew up. After the older sister moved away, the younger was very sorry for the way she had treated her older sibling. She regretted being so mean when her sister had only been trying to be nice.
The younger sister contacted the older one to apologize and beg forgiveness for her pettiness, meanness, and trouble-causing through the years. The older sister forgave the younger one and let it go, content to start a new relationship. But the younger could not forgive herself, and carried the burden of the hurt she had caused for a very long time.
The sisters became good friends and established a wonderful relationship. They could laugh and cry together, celebrating and sharing burdens alike.
Yet the guilt kept hanging over the head and heart of the younger, so she asked forgiveness from the slightly older sister again.
“I forgave you a long time ago, Tabby.“
Hearing those words, I realized that the time had come for me to finally lay down my burden. The guilt and shame of what I had done as a child and teenager had choked me for so many years, I hardly knew what to do with them. Yet forgiving myself has been a continual process, even decades later.
Is there something you have been forgiven for that you still carry? Are you shouldering a load of guilt and shame that doesn’t belong to you anymore? Maybe it’s time for you to let it go.