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We all make mistakes. Some are big, some are small, but we all fail at times. What to do next? Forgiveness. Rectify the mistake, make amends, and then forgive yourself. The advice on how to do that comes from a surprising source: a rape survivor.

Jennifer Thompson was raped, and her testimony sent Ronald Cotton to jail. But DNA testing proved, 11 years later, that the rapist was actually Bobby Poole. Ronald Cotton was set free. What a terrible trauma to undergo: the horror of rape, and then the shock of knowing that the wrong man was imprisoned for 11 years. But Thompson is moving forward with her life. She comments that you must seek to improve yourself and atone.

Most of us have not made mistakes that had such a huge impact, but our mistakes do impact others. Whatever you can do to atone for that mistake: do it. Apologize, confess, repay, however it looks, making amends is the first step to self-forgiveness. Once you have made amends, you can let go. Even if the other person refuses to forgive you, you can and must forgive yourself. God does not hold grudges; God does not withhold forgiveness. And if God forgives you (which She does), you can forgive yourself.

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