Dedicated to all those I seek forgiveness from………….

It’s The Only Reason We Have Hope

When Adam and Eve first sinned, they lost their innocence and holiness.  Actually, everyone who came after lost their innocence and holiness thanks to these two.  That’s because Adam and Eve are our first parents.  So imperfection is in our beings’ DNA – our souls; it’s called Original Sin, thankfully washed away at Baptism.  Sin has been propagated by man ever since, and thus the need for something unnecessary before the sin was born; forgiveness.

When we ask for Jesus’ forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we of course are absolved.  But more importantly, we gain grace which brings us that much closer to becoming innocent and holy again – our original state of being.  Forgiveness became the antidote, the cure, for sin.  The genesis of our good fortune to be forgiven lies in Christ’s ultimate sacrifice; his crucifixion.  For only through His suffering was death effectively conquered.  Jesus’ victory over sin restored our hope for attaining eternal life.  His death, resurrection, and institution of the Sacrament of Reconciliation is the only reason we all have hope to be with Him in eternity one fine day.

We Are Commanded to Forgive

Since Christ – God – forgave us our sins and provided the vehicle to purify ourselves every-time we are truly penitent (Reconciliation), He commands that we forgive our brothers and sisters as well.  It’s all over Scripture and certainly Sacred Tradition.  Beginning with words directly from Jesus’ mouth when he taught us how to pray; “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespassed against us.”  Here are some more examples;

Matthew 6:14-15.  “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Mark 11:25. “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

And let us not forget Christ’s incredible example of forgiveness while hanging on the Cross.  As he glanced down at the Jews, His chosen people, and at the Romans (still his children), screaming in agony, embarrassment, and humiliation, all brought on by these two peoples he says, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”  Unreal.

Christian or Not, the Power of Forgiveness is Intuitive

The sections above is factual to me, but not to all, because not everyone is Catholic or even Christian.  However, forgiving someone of their transgressions is our duty as human beings and helps the transgressor forgive themselves.  This is intuitive.  As people, we share a want to promote the common good (well maybe not all of us).  We take care of our babies, we help the infirmed, we love our animals, and much, much more.  We do this naturally, not necessarily because we have a religious belief system.

There are different ways a person can ask for forgiveness.  The most common ways is to say; “I apologize.”  Of course, the apology must be heart-felt to hold any weight with the receiver and really mean anything.  In turn, if the apology is genuine, it is our obligation to accept it.  To not accept a genuine apology, basically not forgiving someone of their recognized wrongdoing, is completely selfish and forces that person to continue to deal with their guilt.  Ultimately, not forgiving someone is a form of control that leaves a lasting impression on the other person’s life.

Some people are lucky enough to be able to say to themselves, “I’m genuinely sorry and if they don’t accept that, that’s their problem.”  This attitude is supported in Scripture.  For example, “Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet.”  Certain of us have a hard time developing this attitude because we may be predisposed to feeling guilty, need reinforcement that we’re not bad people or whatever.  I unfortunately fit into this category.

The moral to the story is that we will all be hurt by other’s words and actions and many times in our lives.  Whether you’re Christian, Agnostic, Atheist or whatever, when someone comes to you with their heart in their hand and asks for your forgiveness, for God’s, your and their sake – give it to them.

Words of Wisdom About Forgiveness

To forgive another is a very difficult task and because of this fact, many people choose not to forgive. Unforgiveness is death to the soul and this death is reflected in the lives of those who are unforgiving. When we are unforgiving we store up hatred and revenge and this is what makes us unhappy, depressed, filled with anxiety, full of self-hatred, loneliness, hatred and unkindness towards others, the inability to love, and finally, we are unpleasant to be around. Once we forgive we will find that this weight is lifted from us. We are able to love–we are free!

(Q): How do we forgive if we are unable to forget the wrong that was committed against us?

(A): It is nearly impossible to speak the words “I forgive” and expect all the hurt and pain to vanish. The hurt and pain will remain until you are healed. One must be very careful not to let the hurt and pain stir up feelings of unforgiveness. Instead, one should be on constant guard to pray to God every time the hurt resurfaces and beg God to heal the memory and pain. Do not become discouraged with yourself when you want to forgive but feel as if you cannot. Just the fact that you want to forgive is pleasing to God. The rest will come in time with God’s help and by our constant prayers asking for the grace to forgive. Healing a memory is much like healing a wound-it takes time. In Mt. 18:21, Jesus proclaims we should forgive “seventy times seven.” Then in Mt. 18:23-34 Jesus states that God’s kingdom is a matter of forgiveness and those who do not forgive are handed over to torturers. Jesus then teaches the apostles how to pray. He told them to pray that they be forgiven as they forgive (Mt 6:12). Jesus repeats: “If you forgive the faults of others, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours. If you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive you.” (Mt 6:14-15) It is clear to see that Jesus insists on forgiveness.

(Q): Why do we refuse to forgive?

(A): Some people do not forgive because in their mind they believe they are getting even with the individual(s) who hurt them. By not forgiving, they feel that they are in control and now have the power to punish those who have hurt them. What they do not realize is that the unforgiving person suffers far more than the “enemy” does. If Jesus were not to forgive those who crucified him, would they have suffered from his unforgiveness? Of course not! Jesus’ response to those who hurt him was: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”

  1. Find out below if you have forgiven those who have hurt you:
  2. Are you able to pray for the person(s) who hurt you?
  3. Do you still feel revenge toward the person(s) who hurt you?
  4. Can you see the person(s) who hurt you in Heaven with you?
  5. Do you forgive yourself?
  6. Will you let God forgive you?
 

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