Seeking forgiveness from G-d is relatively easy. Forgiving myself for my misdeeds requires an act of bravery. It’s so much easier to make amends to others, to attempt to make changes in myself and to work to become a different man than it is to let go of guilt and shame. Accepting forgiveness from myself, that’s a real challenge. This is a prayer to release ourselves from the burden of guilt. It is part of my series of prayers to internalize G-d’s gifts, including “Egypt Inside” and “Repentance Inside.”
This I confess to myself:
I have locked forgiveness away,
Hiding its wonder and grace
In a secret spot deep in my heart.
I have set myself up as judge and accuser,
As provocateur and jury,
Regarding my own words and deeds,
My wisdom and my truth,
With loathing and with distain.
I have known forgiveness from G-d,
But not from myself.
G-d of redemption,
With Your loving and guiding hand
Seeking forgiveness is easy.
Accepting forgiveness is a struggle.
In Your wisdom You have given me this choice:
To live a life of condemnation,
Or to set my heart free to love You,
To love Your people,
And to love myself.
G-d of Mercy, help me to leave my judgments behind,
To hear Your voice,
To accept Your guidance,
And to see the miracles in each new day.
Blessed are You,
G-d of Righteousness,
In Your wisdom You have taught us
That forgiveness is the road to peace.
© 2013 Alden Solovy and www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.
Postscript: Here are focused lists of prayers for the High Holidays: Elul, Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and Sukkot. Here’s a link to yizkor and memorial prayers.
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