Forgiveness // What is Forgiveness?

Image by Beautiful Light Photography

Image by Beautiful Light Photography

There’s a song that I always listen to when I think about giving and experience forgiveness. It’s called “Forgiveness” by Matthew West. I think this song will help explain what we’re going to be learning about in the next couple weeks:


It’s the hardest thing to give away

And the last thing on your mind today

It always goes to those that don’t deserve
 

The idea of forgiveness seems easy at first glance. It’s easy to forgive an accident or to forgive a child when they made a mistake. I know that for some of you, forgiveness seems like such an unimaginable concept. It’s a lot to work though, especially if someone hurts you so much, it damages your mind, heart and soul. However, forgiveness isn’t something people deserve or have to earn. It’s something we all need. It’s an act of compassion, which means it’s given even when it’s not asked for.


It’s the opposite of how you feel
When the pain they caused is just too real
It takes everything you have just to say the word…

Forgiveness

Forgiveness doesn’t mean to forget that all the things that we suffered never happened. It doesn’t mean that you aren’t justified in your anger. It’s okay to feel angry, hurt, and afraid. At some point, though, you need to let go of all of that. It’s not something you can do right away and the anger won’t go away overnight. You have to start somewhere.

It flies in the face of all your pride
It moves away the mad inside
It’s always anger’s own worst enemy
Even when the jury and the judge
Say you gotta right to hold a grudge
It’s the whisper in your ear saying “Set it free”
 

We’ve all been hurt in the past, some of us more than others. Forgiveness is a process that where we acknowledge the pain and make an effort towards letting it go. Letting go of the anger means no thoughts of revenge or hoping that the person that hurt us will suffer. It also means that you can’t lord your success over the ones who hurt you like getting a flashy new car and going “nah nah I’m doing so much better than you.” That’s not forgiveness. That’s being petty.     

Show me how to love the unlovable
Show me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible
 

Holding onto your anger actually makes us victims of our circumstances. It’s so easy to play the victim card and get sympathy for others, make excuses for ourselves because we’ve been too hurt. In contrast, forgiveness asks us to selflessly love the ones who hurt us. It doesn’t always mean letting that person back into your life. It means to genuinely hope that they will let go and move past whatever hurt they have in their lives and become better people.

It’ll clear the bitterness away
It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what it’s power can do
So, let it go and be amazed
By what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you

There was a time that I wanted revenge on those who hurt me. The pain that I suffered and the anger I felt blinded me for a long time until I learned that there was a common thread amongst those who have hurt me: they were all suffering from something and instead of trying to get past their hurt, they end up hurting others instead, myself included. For me, forgiveness was necessary to break this endless cycle of hurt.

I want to finally set it free
So show me how to see what Your mercy sees
Help me now to give what You gave to me
Forgiveness
 

One surprising thing about forgiveness is that in letting go of the anger and hurt, you experience a peace that makes you unafraid of the ones who’ve hurt you in the past. There will come a time when you can finally look that person who hurt you in the eye and feel nothing towards them except the unconditional love that God put into your heart.

Since this is the year of Mercy, I invite all of you to join me on this journey in learning how mercy and forgiveness can change your life forever.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

Reflections

1.What do you think is the hardest aspect of forgiveness? Why do you think it’s so hard to forgive?

2.How has forgiveness or a lack of forgiveness affected your life? How do you perceive forgiveness now?

Action: Offer prayers towards those who haven’t forgiven yet during this two-week journey. Ask God to help you let go of all the anger and hurt that you have towards them. It’s not gonna be easy, but I promise you that the process will be worth it.