In this Year of Mercy, I continue to select either a corporal or spiritual work of mercy and dedicate one post each month to enlightening us all on why these works of mercy are so important to embrace. This month, we’ll discuss how to forgive injuries; a spiritual work of mercy.
It is not always easy to forgive injuries, because we’re human and pain hurts! Yet, we are called by Christ to forgive in the same manner that He taught the Apostles to forgive when He taught them the Our Father: “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matt 6:13). To forgive then requires us to extend mercy and compassion. How so? Let’s use an example:
A family crisis occurs. Tensions are high. A close relative makes a comment that cuts you to your core, causing you great emotional pain. It’s the type of comment that could result in the two of you never speaking to each other again, or at least not for several years. Anyone else ever experience this situation? I know that I can speak from experience: It happened to me. I couldn’t bring myself to be in the same room with this relative for about two years. Unable to forgive, I hurt deeply.
How to Forgive Injuries
Until I made peace with the fact that this relative didn’t have a clue about how uncaring, unfeeling, or hurtful were the comments, I was unable to extend mercy, compassion and forgiveness. Yet, once I realized that the comment made to me came from a place of vulnerability and insecurity, only then I was able to extend mercy, enter into this person’s own pain and feel compassion, and ultimately forgive injuries caused by this person.
If you experienced something similar, then consider these points, so that you don’t go through what I went through:
- Seek the Sacrament of Reconciliation, where you can ask for the grace to be merciful, compassionate and forgiving.
- Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet: It helps place things in the proper perspective, so that you can grant mercy, forgive others, and heal.
- Hold no grudges! Extend mercy, feel compassion, and forgiveness will come more easily.
- Forgiveness sets you free from the self-imposed bondage of hurt and pain! Release yourself from holding on to the hurt and pain.