Monday, June 8, 2009

Forgiving to Be Forgiven

I loved this answer from a reader's question on Liguorian, a religious publication.

"When I pray the Our Father, I have no problem praying “and forgive us our trespasses,” but I really struggle with “as we forgive those who trespass against us" Can you help me?

You have identified a teaching of the Lord that is truly astonishing both in the simplicity of its words and in the difficulty of the response it demands. Our human experience of this almost- daily struggle is something we should be familiar with.

The essential teaching about mercy and forgiveness contained within this prayer defines what it is to receive mercy. Jesus taught us that the full experience of “mercy cannot penetrate out hearts as long as we have not forgiven those who have trespassed (sinned) against us”. In other words, we cannot experience the fullness of God’s mercy unless we, too, are merciful, as it says in 1 John 4:20: “Those who say, ‘I love God,’ and hate their brothers or sisters are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.”

All Christians should have the same struggle when they pray the Our Father, but some never think about what the words actually mean. It’s through the power of God’s grace that you have arrived at a point in your spiritual journey where it’s impossible to just rattle off a bunch of words. “Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God... partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life”. The difficulty you’re having in the prayer is in and of itself the profound grace you need from God.

Be confident that the Lord who has given you the grace to come to this awareness is the same God who will give you the grace necessary to practice what you pray. That gift of grace will come to you in the moments it is needed. ---Fr. Tom Santa


10 Grateful Heart's Words:

mckhoii said...

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Mel Avila Alarilla said...

Wonderful post. It is possible to forgive those who have wronged us by turning them over to the Lord. We may not immediately feel it in our hearts but when we forgive, God will make a way to actualize it. Thanks for the post. God bless you always.

Warren Baldwin said...

Great thoughts. I've found that forgiveness is freeing. It doesn't free the person you have forgiven from whatever responsibilities they might have to make amends or change their behavior. But, it does free the one who forgives from negative and resentful thoughts that enslave the mind and spirit.

But it is still hard to do!

Good post.

sparkzspot said...

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Alicia said...

This is true doctrine!! It's like the parable Christ gave in Matt 18:21-35... one of my favorite parables.

Poetic Shutterbug said...

I feel and have learned that thought it is difficult to forgive those who have wronged us in some way, we forgive for ourselves and not that person. If we do not forgive, we hold on to grudges which cause anger, heartache, stress etc... yet if we put it behind us we will free ourselves of all that anguish. It took me a very long time to learn this and it's still difficult but it is very liberating.

bingkee said...

For most people it is really hard to forgive. Even the Lord God's teachings don't seem to make sense to them because they are so hurt. But forgiving is not for the debtors. It's for us----to release us from the bondage of hurt, pain and resentment. Unforgiveness is very difficult to deal with and can greatly affect our mind and the way we deal with life. Forgiveness is letting go of the pain imprisoned in our hearts and minds.
God bless you.

Brillie said...

Hmmm.. I think better forgotten than forgiven :)

Warren Baldwin said...

Hi, just checking to see if you had a new post. I'll be starting a series on Family Fountain on marrigae, maybe next week.

Salute said...

If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Matthew 6:14-15