Forgiveness. I chose to write on this topic because it’s one that’s hard, no make that very hard for me. It’s not something that I just fall in to naturally, at times, many times, I have to ask God for help when it comes to forgiving. You see, I’m a very emotional, very animated person. I love hard, I play hard, I do everything deeply. It’s not always a bad thing, but when it comes to getting my feelings hurt, or being disappointed, I find that sometimes it’s hard for me to let that pain go.
That’s why when I had the opportunity to write about forgiveness, I took it. Not because I think I’m the most well versed on the topic, obviously I’m not, but because I think that it’s something that a lot of people struggle with and are too afraid to admit it. No one wants to be the person that outwardly admits that they hold grudges, but I would guess that when push came to shove, many of us struggle with that urge. And that’s okay, we are human. We make mistakes, we hold grudges, we yell, we hurt others, we disappoint, we do a lot of things we shouldn’t do, but what’s also okay, and extremely necessary, is forgiveness.
Now when I say I struggle with forgiveness, I’m mainly talking about forgiveness with one person- myself. I’m being real and honest when I say that I stayed away from the sacrament of reconciliation for almost three years because I was afraid of forgiveness. It was so hard for me to forgive myself for past mistakes, how could I dare ask God for his forgiveness? How could I dare go and ask for him to absolve my sins when I didn’t feel worthy of absolution? That’s when a priest told me something that will probably always change my outlook on confession and forgiveness- he told me, “You aren’t special.”
Before you think that statement is completely rude, let me explain. He told me I wasn’t special in the fact that God forgives all sins that we are truly sorry for and ask to be forgiven. It’s as simple as that. He meant that God doesn’t just go “Oh, no...not her again, nope. Everyone else can have their sins forgiven but her.” After he told me that the idea of confession, the idea of forgiveness was completely altered in my mind.
Forgiveness for us can be difficult because we love with human hearts, God loves with a God heart, and forgiveness for Him looks different, feels different. He wants nothing more than for us to come to Him for forgiveness and He wants nothing more than to forgive us for those sins. He wants His children to be close to Him. Every parent knows that feeling. Yes we stray, yes we make mistakes, but He wants us to be close to Him. He wants us. Always.
Ephesians 4:32 says “be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.” Be compassionate. Be willing to look past a rude comment, a hurtful situation and ask God not only for forgiveness for that person, but also for the ability to pray for those who hurt us. I for one know that when the scripture is read that we must pray for our enemies I always smile. Pray for your enemies, pray for those who hurt you, who mock you, you bring you down. Show compassion, forgiveness, turn the other cheek. Jesus asks us to do all of these things and yet we have human hearts to work with. We will struggle, we won’t always find it easy, but we have to find it necessary.
Matthew 18:23 says “That is why the kingdom of Heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants.” Forgiveness brings peace, lightens your heart, lightens the cross that you bear. Ask for forgiveness, practice forgiveness and keep praying that others may find it easier to do so as well.
Reflect: Think of someone who has hurt you- have you given that person total forgiveness? Which is harder for you, forgiving others, or forgiving yourself? Why do you think that is?
Act: Ask God to help you through the act of forgiveness- pray that you may look at the nextindiscretion with more of a “God heart” and less of a “human heart.”