Forgive others – Not so easy a task now is it? What stops us from being able to forgive others who have hurt us? Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, a time set aside for us to repent, pray and give alms. To repent means that we are sorry for what we have done wrong. To repent is to ask for forgiveness. Yet, if we really listen to the words from the Our Father, where we recite “Forgive us our trespasses AS we forgive those who have trespassed against us,” what we are really asking is to be forgiven to the extent that we forgive others. That word AS may be a little word, but it carries a big punch. Can any of us really say that we have forgiven others to the extent that we would want to be forgiven? Yet, to forgive others to that extent is to live in a Christ-like manner. Christ forgave sinners at every opportunity during His ministry, even while hanging on the cross for our sins. We are called to forgive others, regardless of the offense committed. That doesn’t mean that we must forget what was done, only that we must forgive.
Jesus said it best when He said, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34) as He hung on the cross. When we hurt others, most times, we don’t do it on purpose. That is because we are hung up with our own emotions and pay little attention to how our actions impact others negatively. In essence, we don’t know what we’re doing. In my post from Monday, I told you about how some children treated me very badly when I myself was a child. Did they really know the impact of their actions at grade school age? Did they comprehend the effect that it would have on me? I seriously doubt that they knew what they were doing. If you’ll recall, I didn’t even make the connection until I was in my 40’s. Was what they did wrong? Yes? Should they be forgiven? Yes! Must I forget how I was treated? Definitely not; but I can learn from it. I have learned to treat others as I would want to be treated, and I do my best to follow Jesus’ teachings on this subject.
When we forgive others, we allow ourselves to love and trust again. When we forgive others, we allow Christ to heal us from all past hurts and sins. In the end, isn’t that what we all want: to be forgiven, to love and be loved; to trust and be trusted? Embracing forgiveness is the first step towards loving and trusting once again.
How can we begin to practice forgiveness? We’ll discuss the answer to that question in our next reflection. Don’t miss it!
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