A Lesson In Forgiveness

It’s no secret I blew the whistle on faith and culture writer, Jonathan Merritt, back in 2012. Since then I have been conflicted and bombarded with questions if what I did was right or out_gay_conservative_rectwrong. I’ve already responded to those questions in my article on Salon as well as in a Huffington Post interview. If you want to do your due diligence in research, you can read that post here and watch the interview here.

Tomorrow, April 1, Jonathan will release his new book, Jesus Is Better Than You Imagined. From what I’ve gathered,  this book is about experiencing the grace of God, healing, and finding freedom in living an honest and authentic life.

Since the announcement of Jonathan’s new book and the excerpt of his book being published in Christianity Today, I’ve received several emails asking me how/if I will respond. To be honest, I didn’t even want to write this post. I want to leave this situation in my past. Alas, here I am… writing about it. This post isn’t about Jonathan or me though, it’s about forgiveness. Learning to forgive myself.

The guilt and shame I felt for outing Jonathan kept me from writing for a long time. The shame made me feel like I lost my message. The guilt convinced me that I lost everyone’s respect.

Everyday, I have to choose to forgive myself for the wrongs I’ve committed. Outing Jonathan without speaking to him first is one of those wrongs. I see this moment as an opportunity in a lesson about forgiveness. When there is an opportunity to stand in your truth and demonstrate a lesson of forgiveness – it’s worthwhile. That’s why I’m writing about this situation when there is nothing more I would like than to leave it in the past.

Don’t allow your guilt and shame to prevent you from becoming your best. Choose to forgive yourself, that’s where you find freedom. Freedom will never be found in guilt and shame.

Start with this daily mantra…

I am not my failures or mistakes.

I have done wrong.

I will make mistakes.

I am worthy of love.

I am worthy of acceptance.

I am worthy.

You are worthy. We are worthy. We are all messed up but we are worthy.

Forgive yourself.

Be love,

Azariah Southworth




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