Monday, November 11, 2013

"Forgiveness unleashes joy. It brings peace. It washes the slate clean."

God always forgives when you are totally repentant and you desire to change. He forgives…and He never gets tired of forgiving. Never. You may get tired asking. I hope not. He never, never tires of forgiving. Never. – Mother Angelica (EWTN Radio)

Gospel Text: (LK 17:1-6)
Jesus said to his disciples,
“Things that cause sin will inevitably occur,
but woe to the one through whom they occur.
It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck
and he be thrown into the sea
than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.
Be on your guard!
If your brother sins, rebuke him;
and if he repents, forgive him.
And if he wrongs you seven times in one day
and returns to you seven times saying, ‘I am sorry,’
you should forgive him.”

And the Apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.”
The Lord replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed,
you would say to this mulberry tree,
‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”

Is there anything that can help us to forgive those who have hurt us?

#1. Forgiveness is not easy. It takes time and it takes effort.

#2. Forgiveness is not forgetting. It doesn't mean a change in memory. It means a change in heart.

#3. Forgiveness does not overlook evil. In other words, it is not avoidance. It is not denial.

#4. Forgiveness is not destructive. It doesn't mean that we let hurt and damage continue and go on.

#5. Forgiveness is not the same thing as approval. In fact, the reason that we need forgiveness is that we don't approve. Something has happened that we do not approve of. We will not approve of it. What we can do is forgive.

Now, that's the first five. But then I think it gets more difficult. Think of these next five. Which of those do you not only have trouble living with, but which one would you say, for you, you are not even sure you can accept?

#6. Forgiveness is based on recognizing and admitting that people are always bigger than their faults. In other words, I shouldn't define people by just the way they have treated me. There is more to their lives than that.

#7. Forgiveness is willing to allow a person who has offended me to start over again. Or, do I say, "No room! No second chances! No, I will not ever let go and let you begin again."

#8. Forgiveness recognizes the humanity of the person who has wronged us and also recognizes our own humanity and our own shortcomings and our own contribution to what went wrong.

#9. Forgiveness surrenders the right to "get even." And, finally,

#10. Forgiveness means we wish the person or the group that has hurt us well. In fact, we wish them the best.

Pretty tough stuff! Pretty hard to live up to. And Jesus says the foundation for it, the motivation, the energy that allows it to happen, the ground that founds and fuels our forgiveness is trying to treat others the way God treats us. The very nature of our God is to forgive. Our God, Who is at the heart of the Universe, lets go and forgives. Our God, Who is the ground of our personal lives, lets go and forgives. Our God, Who is the standard of living rightly and living well, lets go and forgives. Our God is the foundation and the reason for us to offer forgiveness. But it is still very hard.

Forgiveness is a decision. Decide today to forgive. Forgiveness does not mean blotting out painful memories but it means not acting out of them. One thing I say to people who are having difficulty forgiving a hurt is to repeat to themselves, “I will not allow X to control my life. I take control of my life back from X with the help of God’s grace.”

No pit is so deep that our God is not deeper still. No forgiveness is so difficult that our God is not there first. And no wound is so bad that our God does not invite us to heeling from within. Compassion, humor, faith, forgiveness, and justice.... God help us!.... Actually, God will help us. Amen

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