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||Of all of the
virtues forgiveness must be one of the hardest to put into practice. Our
hurts can run so deep and painful that somehow we need to justify them
with both anger and hatred against those who caused them. But, you know,
anger and hatred are the most destructive of emotions and actually lead
to physical illness as well as a heart never at peace.
If we could but let it all go, hand the hurts, angers and hatred over to the Lord and say: "Lord, the burden has become too heavy for me, please take it onto Your shoulders. Help me to forgive those who hurt me."
For some of us that hatred is directed towards God. The loss of a loved one, particularly a child, leaves us so angry with God that we turn away from Him. That's OK too and all part of a normal grieving process. But there comes a time when we must let go of those harmful emotions and rejoice in the good memories we have of the one who is lost to us.
Perhaps we feel a certain guilt and direct the anger inwards, unable to forgive ourselves. There can be things in our past that we feel ashamed of and feel we are unworthy of forgiveness. Our Beloved Father in heaven waits for us to turn away from self-loathing, anger and hatred and say: "Lord help me to forgive myself."
Jesus taught us how to pray when He gave the disciples the Lord's Prayer. Read it slowly and look at what He says:
'This is how you should pray "Our Father in heaven, Thy Name be hallowed .Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us the wrong we have done, as we have forgiven those who have wronged us. And do not bring us to the test, but save us from the evil one" For if you forgive others the wrong they have done, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, then the wrongs you have done will not be forgiven by your Father.' (Mt. 6; 9-15 RSV)
Forgiveness does not mean having to like the person who hurts us. It simply means we have to let it go, release the heavy burden of anger, leave the past behind and look to a bright new day.
"Take heed to yourselves; if your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him" Luke 17:2-4. Take that scripture passage one step further and forgive whether the sinner repents or not. Forgiveness is a gift we give to ourselves, challenging us to believe that there is a better future and giving us the inner confidence to know that we will survive the pain and suffering. Healing of that pain comes faster when we can let it go and stop it from festering inside like a volcano ready to errupt.
Forgiveness of self will release you to starting to like yourself. Regardless of your crimes, sins or wrongdoings, you are still a beautiful child of God, loved by Him with an unconditional love. God may not like the sin but He still loves the sinner, waiting for that change of heart to be able to say, SORRY, PLEASE FORGIVE ME, and to really mean it.
Here's a lovely little prayer about forgiveness:
PRAYER FOR HEALING
When we pray this prayer, Our Lord gently and gradually removes layers of emotional scar tissue while we sleep, allowing us to be happier people.
HEALING PRAYER AT BEDTIME
through the power of the Holy Spirit, go back into my memory as I sleep.
'If we really want to love, we must learn how to forgive'. - Mother Theresa.
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