Forgiveness Day 6 // Learning to Forgive Yourself

Images by Beautiful Light Photography

Images by Beautiful Light Photography

Luke 15:11-32 John 8:1-11

These two passages are very familiar ones. I want to focus on something these two passages have in common: through the parable of the Prodigal Son and the Adulteress, we can learn how to forgive ourselves. It’s hard  to let go of the anger, resentment, and pain we have towards other people. Forgiving ourselves is just as hard, if not harder. 

When the Prodigal Son rehearses his speech for his father, he doesn’t see himself as worthy of being his father’s son. Instead, he sees himself as a slave, given how far he had fallen. However, when the time comes and the Prodigal Son starts his speech, his father cuts him off before the son could ask if he could be a servant. Instead, the son is restored to his rightful place in the family.

In a similar way, when Jesus asks the Adulteress who condemned her, she only said

“No one, sir.”

She didn’t blame her accusers or try to justify her actions or beg Jesus to forgive her. And yet, by simply acknowledging that she was finally alone with no one to accuse her, she received forgiveness.

One often misunderstood aspect about God’s grace is that we have to deserve it. Nobody deserves God’s grace or mercy. It’s instead given as a gift, whether we feel like we deserve it or not. 

The Catholic Church holds everyone up to a high standard because our purpose in life is to be a saint. At the same time, the Church loves us so unconditionally that no matter how far we fall, we can return to the Church, ask for forgiveness, and receive that grace. It does not mean that we take advantage of that grace. It doesn’t mean that we don’t deserve that grace. 

So what does it mean?

It means that God is asking a lot from us when we receive His mercy. 

Today’s featured song is “Come to Jesus” by Mindy Smith. The song talks about how Jesus is always going to be here for us. I like to think that it’s sung in the point of view of a guardian angel. May we all come to Jesus, ask for His mercy, and leave all the pain and shame behind.

Guardian angels, pray for us.

Reflections

1.Who do you identify with most in the passages? Do you identify with the sinners (the Prodigal Son and the Adulteress), the condemners (the other son and the Pharisees), or the one who forgives (the father and Jesus)? Why do you feel drawn to them?

2.What will you do with the gift of mercy that we have been given? Will you let go of all that is past or hold onto it and forget about the gift we received?

Action: Forgive yourselves, sisters in Christ. God already has. And if you’re not certain of that, I su