Evangelizing through the Catholic Arts

Forgiveness – Why Did it Take Almost 40 Yrs?

Forgiveness 3


… when given to others, is done more for yourself, than for the person being forgiven. To forgive someone for an offense committed against you is to release yourself from the bond that the offense has created.  I have an excellent example from my own life to prove the point.

When I was a child in grade school, I wore braces on my legs and went through several surgeries because I was born with clubbed feet. Well, everyone knows how cruel children can be, and I suffered from a great deal of taunting and verbal abuse at the hands of several of my classmates simply because of my “difference.” I was an outcast, a “cootie-bug” (remember that one? It was common in my day – maybe I am dating myself). The verbal abuse was so excessive, that I would go home every afternoon and cry, asking my mom why my classmates were so mean to me. This abuse lasted all throughout my eight years of grade school. Naturally, it impacted my self-worth. It wasn’t until I was in my 40’s that I had an epiphany connecting the verbal abuse from my classmates with my need to constantly seek approval from my colleagues at work. I was still that little girl seeking acceptance – always trying to prove my worth. With this epiphany, I decided to finally forgive my former classmates of their cruelty, and with that forgiveness, Christ healed me! I was no longer held bound to the abuse. I was free to be the person I was meant to be. I no longer needed to seek acceptance and approval from my colleagues to confirm my self-worth. In Christ’s healing, He affirmed my self-worth! He has a plan for me, and no verbal abuse, or pats on the back for that matter, mean anywhere near as much to me anymore as doing the Lord’s will does. Christ’s healing, through my willingness to forgive, has set me on the right course for my life.

How to Forgive / How to be Forgiven

The ability to forgive is a blessed thing to possess; to be forgiven is even better. We are all sinners in need of Christ’s forgiveness. He’s waiting for you to seek His forgiveness by acknowledging your sins. He is waiting to joyfully forgive you of your sins and to extend His mercy upon you, because He loves you! What are you waiting for? Get to it! Receive forgiveness, mercy, peace and joy – all great virtues to possess!

Give forgiveness as well. For we affirm the need to forgive, every time we pray the Our Father: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.”

Maybe, just maybe, by forgiving and being forgiven, we can put an end to mean-spiritedness, which has become so pervasive in our society today.

This post was shared with Theology is a Verb and Reconciled to You.

12 Responses to Forgiveness – Why Did it Take Almost 40 Yrs?

  • God has given me the grace to forgive some horrific abuses against me, and I have been blessed my those graces, beyond my wildest dreams, God is a lover of all, he uses the good bad and the ugly in us all to heal us all, if we just ask,for our selves and others. I am not saying it’s easy, but all is possible for those who cry out to The Lord. Amen and Bless u with your work!

  • I am still in the process of forgiving my dad. He was really critical of what ever it was that he saw me doing. My response was to just live out my life sneaking around him. This has been a real problem for the rest or my life because whenever I make a rule for myself I end up sneaking around it and secretly getting a thrill out of that. The same thing is true often when someone else has laid down a rule for me. I hope to find that forgiveness that you found in your heart so that I can leave these bad habits behind.

    • Boy, Will, can I relate to what you are saying, in that the criticism pushed upon you, caused you to condition yourself to react in a certain manner for reasons of survival, only to find out that what was done to you messes with your mind. Once that connection has been made, and now it has with you, you are at the same point I was when I referred to my epiphany. The question now is, what do you want to do about it? Do you want peace, soundness of mind, and a healthy lifestyle? Then ask God to help you forgive your dad. Your dad’s behavior has a deep rooted cause, one that you might not be aware of, but nonetheless exists, and most likely has nothing to do with you. Break the chain that binds you to the pain. You are free. It can’t hurt you any longer, because God will help you to see things differently. When you look at an interaction with your dad going forward, it will no longer have the impact it once had. I wish you the best. Keep me posted on your progress. You can always e-mail me privately.

      • It is good to know that my discovered awareness is a starting point for changing my behavior. I will pray fervently this Lent to God that he will help me to fully forgive my father. I somewhat think that what was going on with my dad was PTSD from being an Army officer in New Guinea in WWII. My mom sometimes said he was not the same after 6 years in the Pacific.

        • Will – You are well on your way! I am so proud of you! I will continue to pray with you. Awareness is an excellent starting point, and the fact that you can now see that there might have been other factors at play that had nothing to do with you is HUGE! May the pain melt away from you. May you experience a renewal in Christ this Lenten season.

  • Wow, this is lovely, Ginny!~ That last paragraph about the ability to forgive–so true. So hits home.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story and these pearls…

  • Very thought provoking, thank you for sharing! Following your blog now!

  • Great insights about forgiveness, Virginia. One need not have been abused to grow up craving approval. Just having a critical parent will have an impact. Just last year, God powerfully healed my mother relationship – 10 years after her death! That opened the door to many graces for me. I am reading Sacred Fire by Fr. Ron Rolheiser now, and love what he says about our need to bless and be blessed. Thanks for being part of my spiritual journey.

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