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Forgiveness

Forgiveness

 
By:  Sister M. Margaret CSL September 7, 2021
#AmazingNation, #Courage, #Humility, #Struggle, #Trust, #Wisdom

“I don’t forgive you”. The words rang in my ears.

We had quarreled. Now years later, I don’t remember what it was we argued about, but I know that hurtful things were said on both sides. I regretted this and wanted to smooth things over with my friend. Here I stood before her offering a sincere apology, and I felt shocked. I had never encountered a situation like this before. All I could answer was, “I forgive you” and walk away.

 

 I cried. I took my pain to Jesus in prayer. That day I learned that forgiveness can be a one-way
street.
Reconciliation with my friend would demand an effort on both sides, but forgiveness could be freely given without expecting anything in return. I learned that although human beings may not forgive, God is always ready and willing to do so. I brought my sorrow to Christ in the confessional and received His forgiveness. It was like a healing balm on my soul. I learned that forgiveness is an expression of God’s unconditional love, and I learned that I am capable of giving it because I have first received it. I strive to mirror that unconditional Love in my life. It demands a readiness to forgive and to ask forgiveness. We are constantly at both ends of the chain. We need forgiveness, and we need to forgive. “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”, as we pray in the Our Father. St. Paul writes, Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun set on your anger” (Eph 4:26). We don’t have to wait for an apology to forgive those who have hurt us. Christ didn’t. “God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8).


Just as we desire forgiveness, we need to be willing to forgive others.
It’s hardest when we feel – justly or not – that we are the honest victim. There have been so many times in my life that I tell God and myself that I have forgiven this or that person. But when my memory reverts to the situation days, months, or even years later, and I feel anger rising in me, I have to repeat that decision in my head over and over again. It’s a struggle. It helps me in those moments to remember that no one is perfect; that I have also hurt others in my life and need forgiveness. Another thing I remind myself is that everyone, without exception, is loved by God, and He desires our salvation. He wants us to forgive and to love readily, just as He does. “I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust” (Mt 5:44-45). St. Paul urges us: “Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse them” (Rom 12:14). Praying for and blessing the people who have hurt me has helped me to overcome my anger and resentment time after time. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, it sometimes hurts. But it has definitely been worth the effort. It brings me healing and hope.

One day we will enter eternity and all of our temporal cares will cease. What will remain will be those joys and sorrows that we gave to Christ throughout our lives. Won’t it be wonderful on that judgement day, to hear God say, “I have found a man after my own heart” (1 Sm 13:14). “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Mt 5:7)!

two koala bears cuddling on tree photo – Free Taronga zoo wharf Image on Unsplash
a boy crying tears for his loss photo – Free Depression Image on Unsplash
  person holding white round ornament photo – Free Human Image on Unsplash
 yellow and black smiley wall art photo – Free Unhappy Image on Unsplash








About the Author Sister M. Margaret CSLSr. M. Margaret joined the congregation of Sisters of the Mother of God of Loretto in 1998. After completing her time of religious formation she studied at the Pontifical Faculty of Theology in Warsaw - Section of St. John Baptist, where she received her Master of Theology with a major in Catechetics in 2013. Most of her religious life has been spent in Poland working with children and youth through catechesis and parish formation. Sr. Margaret enjoys listening to catholic podcasts, reading good books and engaging in conversation with her family. She is currently serving in the Archdiocese of Chicago.


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