I will admit it, I am not a “quick” one to forgive. (So much for saying how “holy” I am.)Before coming into the Church this was truly a struggle for me. I would ask, “Lord what if I die today, and I have not forgiven?” There was no use in lying about it to Jesus, as He knew in my heart there was “no” forgiveness. What a fear this placed in me, that I would go to “hell” because of it! Yet, no one could ever tell me how to “forgive!”
Through many hours in “Confession” and the “teachings” of the Church, I learned there is a process in “forgiving.” There are steps we can take to reach it.
The first thing I learned, “Forgiveness was not about forgetting.” We cannot help what we remember now can we? It is however about being “gracious.” We can still be nice to the person, even if we have not “forgiven” them. If nothing else treat them with “respect” for being a child of God.
The second thing I learned was, “Forgiveness begins with us praying for that person.” I was amazed when I begin to pray for those who hurt me, how much “quicker” forgiveness did come. Sometimes all I could get out was, “God please have mercy.” For God that was enough.
The third thing I learned was, “Forgiving is not about, not holding those accountable for their actions.” In saying this, I have to watch, “how I hold them accountable.” Calling them “a low down dirty dog,” does not get it.
The fourth thing was “giving myself and God enough time to work through this.” I keep confessing it, and through the grace of this Blessed Sacrament, I eventually am “faithful” to the grace God gives me to forgive.
The fifth thing I learned was, “I would know when I had forgiven, as peace would follow.”
I no longer “fear” I am going to hell, if “forgiveness” and “forgetting” do not come at the moment. I have learned that if I trust in God, He will lead me to that point, through the “teachings of the Church” and the “Sacraments.”
Without these “teachings” of our ever so “wise” Church and the Sacraments, I know first hand, “Forgiving was very hard, and led me only into fear for my soul!”
God Bless, SR