I’m the kind of person who always tries to find the good in people. And to be honest, that’s not always easy. But I’d rather believe that every person is inherently good because God created them than believe in some kind of “us versus them” mentality. Yes, there are people who do bad things, but we need to pray for them and approach them with compassion. Compassion and mercy will eventually lead to cooperation and even when we stay away from those who hurt us, we can always forgive them and be grateful for the things we learned from them.
Forgiveness isn’t an easy thing. Some people think that forgiveness is a sign of weakness, as if saying that the bad things people do to us are okay. Others think “forgive and forget,” acting as if the bad things never happened. Neither of these perspectives are what forgiveness is really about.
We are right to be angry when people do wrong things to us. Bishop Robert Barron has an amazing video that he recorded around the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. In that video, he brings up a quote from the passage from Sirach that I’m sharing with you today.
“Wrath and anger, these also are abominations, yet a sinner holds on to them.” - Sirach 27:30
So many of us hold grudges out of some sense of moral superiority or as a way to play the victim and garner sympathy from people. No matter what kind of things people did to us, having that resentment for them actually gives those who’ve hurt us the power over our emotions. In an attempt to inflate our own ego, we actually give them control over us in the process. Whenever we get hurt, we have to let go of the anger and fear that we have towards those who’ve hurt us and build resilience while also forgiving them for the things that they did.
Bishop Robert Barron said, in that same video, that forgiveness is to willingly draw the one that’s hurt you back into community. It means possibly openly communicating with those who’ve hurt you to try to solve the problem you have with them. Sometimes, that doesn’t mean actually reaching out to them. Sometimes, that just comes in the form of praying for them and hoping for the best for them. If you are angry at those you hurt you, tether your anger with God’s love and ask God to help you forgive them.
Funny thing is that your enemies can learn a lot from you as well, as today’s passage from 1st Corinthians says. Do you have people in your life whom you see as sinfully proud? If you love your enemies and do good to those who hurt you, they might learn a lesson from your life. The passage isn’t calling for actively shaming the bad people of the world. Instead, it’s letting God work through you so that all will be drawn to a life of true humility.
If you still hold resentment towards those who’ve hurt you, listen to Matthew West’s “Forgiveness,” which is today’s featured song, along with the story behind that song. These lyrics particularly stand out to me: “So, let it go and be amazed/By what you see through eyes of grace/The prisoner that it really frees is you.”
I pray that you can let go of whatever anger and grudges you are holding against your enemies and that God will help you to forgive them.
Stay grateful, dearest sisters in Christ!
1.What are some good things you learned from bad people or from the bullies in your life? What do you think the bullies in your life learn from you?
2.Do you hold any grudges against someone? Do you feel justified in that anger? How do you think you can change your perspectives on them?
3.How do you think we can “love our enemies”?