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Saturday, March 11, 2017

A Lenten Healing: 40 Graces for Forgiveness (Day 10: Self-Control)

Day 10: Self-Control
The final fruit of the Spirit, self-control, is one I actually think I’m pretty good at. For example, I don’t gorge on food or over-imbibe alcohol.
Road rage is not a thing for me.
I am neither a gamer nor a Netflix binger nor a TV-holic.
(Facebook. Words With Friends. Failing to make dinner because I’m on a ten-hour writing jag.)
One time a friend confided in me that her husband wanted a lot more… um… marital intimacy than she did, and that he struggled not to indulge his eyes in a certain genre of visual media. She said that she was much stronger in that area than he is. I asked her, “If it’s not even a temptation for you, then can you really say you’re strong in that area?”
I’m not tempted to start shooting tequila at 5:01 every evening, but I’m pretty useless at turning down a bowl of chocolate-peanut butter ice cream when Hubs pulls the carton out of the freezer.
Marital unfaithfulness is unlikely to tempt me (good grief, one man is more than enough to keep me busy), but guarding my mouth so I don’t say something judgmental or hurtful to or about any of my family members? Not as easy.
And does it take self-control to keep me from actually, no-kidding, literally murdering someone? Not really. But to refuse to entertain affront? To forgive on-the-spot when someone offends me?
That takes a measure of self-control I obviously don’t possess.

* * *
A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.
-- Proverbs 25:28
* * *
Help me today to identify the places where I need to practice more self-control. Remind me that I say “no” to certain things not out of some ascetic exercise in self-flagellation, but so I have room to say “yes” to the better things that bring me closer to becoming who you want me to be and to doing the things you made me to do. Thank you that I can take the first step toward genuinely forgiving others simply by using my self-control to choose not to mull on offenses and wounds.

40 Graces for Forgiveness: a Healing Journey is now available in print. $6.49 at

With questions for personal meditation and space for journaling, this 40-day devotional series offers a deeper look at Christ's command that we forgive. For a personal pilgrimage, or as a resource for group Bible study,40 Graces for Forgiveness: a Healing Journey invites seekers of forgiveness and healing to the path on which God longs to meet us all. $6.49 at Find out more about 40 Graces for Forgiveness: a Healing Journey.


  1. These have been REALLY good, Maria. I so appreciate your willingness to look into them so deeply and you make really interesting points that I hadn't thought about. Kind of annoying if you'd prefer to remain comfortable... ;) Thanks for sharing your heart with us and challenging us to think more deeply during this Lenten season.