Judi Price has served in many callings in the Church, currently as the stake JustServe specialist in Arizona. Married for 38 years to Dr. Ronald Price, they have four adult children and one granddaughter. Judi graduated from Brigham Young University and returned to school years later to receive a master’s degree in Spiritual Psychology, with an emphasis in Consciousness, Health, and Healing. In her practice, she supports members and non-members in connecting to their higher selves, resolving issues, forgiveness, and creating new futures to live into.

Enter Judi…

Before my master’s degree in Spiritual Psychology, I had never contemplated the concept of self-forgiveness, let alone, compassionate self-forgiveness. In fact, I resisted the concept initially, thinking that it was silly.

As I reflected on my earlier years, I don’t ever remember it being talked about in church.

Self-Healing and More

Compassionate self-forgiveness is a powerful healing process. It involves the inner action of experiencing love and compassion for oneself as well as for all of creation.

Compassionate self-forgiveness provides a way of distinguishing, affirming, and experiencing the love of who we are regardless of our thoughts, feelings and behavior. In other words, this is who we are as a child of God.

Compassionate self-forgiveness is the one tool in my education that impacted my life the most. As I developed this tool within myself, it has served me deeply and lovingly in my life as I have healed. I use this tool often with my clients and when I lead trainings.

Healing Includes Forgiveness

Repentance is often attached to forgiveness. As a child, I was taught that repentance was connected to sin. I understood that forgiveness follows repentance. Forgiveness came only after one fully “repented.” But is self-forgiveness always attached to repentance?

Now that I am older, I realize it is impossible to walk through this earthly life without human error and sin. We are all transgressors and sinners, it is part of our fallen state here in this earthly realm. I don’t say that to make one feel bad or less-than; it is absolutely part of our existence. We experience this mortal life, each in our unique circumstances.

There will always be an opportunity to facilitate some form of forgiveness in one’s life, whether it is from sin, consequences, from our choices or the choices of others.

The Game of Life

In fact, it is like playing the perfect baseball game—something very hard to achieve. Life in this earthly realm can be compared to playing a ballgame, making errors, learning and growing. We continue to have more coaching and continually gain knowledge and then we are playing on the field again. Mistakes and errors are part of the game as we refine our skills.

Yes, we are all playing this earthly game and we are all trying to play the “perfect game,” and statistically speaking there is only one who experienced the “perfect game.” The name of that person is our elder brother, Jesus Christ.

In a real ballgame, the sooner a player can move through an error and mentally be back in the game, the more successful that player is. In earthly life, leading with self-forgiveness, we will then more fully experience ourselves powerfully back in our game.

Getting Back in the Game

How does one bridge the gap when those errors occur? How does one get back into the ballgame, in essence?

Consider that we have collapsed “sin” with “errors” or mistakes. Life happens and we are constantly refining our skills. When we err, judgments immediately come forward as well as shame and guilt. Some of those judgments are so unconscious that we don’t even realize they are there. Most of these judgments are from regrets—regrets from the past. They echo in our consciousness reminding us of our imperfections.

As we deepen our understanding of our experiences, we grow and mature spiritually. Through practice, we can allow those judgments to be released through compassionate self-forgiveness. This is part of our growth and spiritual maturation.

Judgments are Not Who We Are

We are a Child of a Heavenly Father who loves us. We are a spiritual being having an earthly experience. We are perfected through Christ as we release the judgments we have carried with us. All of the errors, regrets, misunderstandings, mistakes, and experiences that have impacted our life can be released.

In August 1994, President Dallin H. Oaks gave a talk entitled “Sin and Mistakes”. In that talk he says,

“In teaching the Saints not to accuse one another, the Prophet said, “What many people call sin is not sin” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith, [1976], 193). I believe that the large category of actions that are mistakes rather than sins illustrates the truth of that statement. If we would be more understanding of one another’s mistakes, being satisfied merely to correct and not to chasten or call to repentance, we would surely promote loving and living together in greater peace and harmony.”

Compassionate self-forgiveness is a powerful tool in releasing the judgments that are stuck in our conscious or subconscious mind. When we deepen our relationship with Christ and release those judgments to Him, we can forgive ourselves and experience freedom through the Atonement.

Mistakes Invite Growth

Elder Oaks continues in this talk,

“We should seek to avoid mistakes, since some mistakes have very painful consequences. But we do not seek to avoid mistakes at all costs. Mistakes are inevitable in the process of growth in mortality. To avoid all possibility of error is to avoid all possibility of growth. In the parable of the talents, the Savior told of a servant who was so anxious to minimize the risk of loss through a mistaken investment that he hid up his talent and did nothing with it. That servant was condemned by his master (see Matt. 25:24–30).”

Talking, reading, and studying forgiveness is one thing; having the experience is another. Emphasizing our knowingness of forgiveness is essential. When we experience forgiveness, we can feel it in the heart where it happens.

When we are forgiving, we experience forgiveness for ourselves and we feel a shift in the heart, not in the mind. Many of us are looking to the knowledge in our mind about forgiveness, therefore we struggle with accessing the experience of forgiveness. Accessing the heart comes by deepening our relationship with Christ, quieting the mind, and dropping down into the heart and allowing it to open.

Compassionate Self-Forgiveness is Emotional Hygiene

We brush our teeth daily as part of our physical hygiene. Consider what daily compassionate self-forgiveness can do for our emotional health.

By clearing out judgments and freeing ourselves of negative beliefs, we will experience freedom and love of ourselves. It is an act of generosity towards oneself. It is the compassionate thing to do.

This how Christ loves us, compassionately. We need to allow ourselves to experience daily the love of Christ.

This does not mean we are forgetting or rationalizing what has happened. It is releasing the judgments about what happened. We then can grow through these life experiences and adjust our future. This is the gift of the Atonement that Christ has given us.

Elder Oaks continues,

“We may suffer adversities and afflictions from our own mistakes or from the mistakes of others, but in this we have a comforting promise. The Lord, who suffered for the pains and afflictions of his people has assured us through his prophets that he will consecrate our afflictions for our gain.”

We Are Perfected Through Him

We are not expected to be perfect in this life. We are perfected through Him. Compassionately forgiving ourselves can open up a deeper relationship with our Savior.

Practicing the experience in our heart is just that, a practice. We can start by placing a hand in the center of our chests as we meditate, pray, and ponder scriptures. As we do this, we can take a deep breath and it will help direct the mind down to the heart, opening up the opportunity for communion.

In 3 Nephi, Christ is visiting the Nephites. I love this passage (and chapter) and how it expresses an experience and an exchange of emotion that the people of Nephi felt through Christ. As we read this passage with new eyes, it will feel as if Christ is casting his eyes on us. This will support us in deepening our understanding of compassion.

His Compassion is Available to All

His compassion is available to each one of us.

“And it came to pass that when Jesus had thus spoken, he cast his eyes round about again on the multitude, and beheld they were a in tears, and did look steadfastly upon him as if they would ask him to tarry a little longer with them. And he said unto them: Behold, my bowels are filled with a compassion towards you.” Nephi 17: 5

Releasing Judgement

As we present ourselves to the love and the compassion of Christ, we can forgive ourselves of the judgments we hold and release them.

Forgiveness comes from the heart. This requires patience and compassion with our minds and the mind’s judgments. Forgiveness is not logical. In fact, our mind will come up with reasons not to forgive.

Christ atoned for all of our shortcomings on this earth. When we can forgive ourselves and release the judgments, we heal. As our spirits heal, we begin to have a larger capacity to grow in love. We are promised that our afflictions will be for our gain and our growth.

Medicine for the Heart and Soul

Compassionate self-forgiveness is the most powerful work I’ve experienced in my training as a spiritual psychologist. It truly is medicine for the heart and soul.

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