“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” The disciples had just asked Jesus to teach them to pray. They must have been thunderstruck when he said those words. Jesus told them to ask the Father to forgive them in the same way that they forgive others who trespass against us.
You might very well say, “But wait, you mean my being forgiven hinges upon whether I have forgiven people who have hurt me?”
Forgiving those who have hurt us is one of the most difficult acts we humans need to learn. Being able to forgive begins to happen as a by-product of an ongoing healing process. That process includes being able to let go of feelings – whatever they are – feelings of hurt, resentment and hatred, to bitterness, anger, and the desire for revenge, to shame and the determination not to be vulnerable anymore.
Forgiveness is difficult. To be able to forgive does involve a stage of healing,...
A month ago, we celebrated the day that is set aside each year to remember St. Francis of Assisi. His Feast Day is always October 6th. He loved animals as part of God’s Creation. The way we celebrate St. Francis’ Day where I am, is to host a Blessing of the Animals. People bring their beloved pets and participate in a service that we conduct in our church courtyard. In one part of that liturgy, I lay my hands on each animal and give them a blessing.
There is a prayer that is associated with St. Francis. You may be familiar with it. I pray it every morning as part of my morning devotion. It’s a lovely prayer. If we were to successfully spring it into being in our own life, we would be one of the saints, for sure.
But it’s so packed with difficult challenges that few of us attain even a small part of it consistently. Living that prayer becomes more difficult when we have been spiritually or...
I know from my own experience, how very difficult it was to even contemplate extending forgiveness to the perpetrator whose behavior left me reeling in the strong emotions and the dust of bewilderment and deep wounds that cut to the heart.
What I do not know is what stage of healing my various readers are in, after they had been so offended. If a considerable amount of time has passed, there might be some of you who might be ready to hear something about forgiveness.
Nevertheless, whether that is you, or the abuse is still ultra-fresh, perhaps the following is wisdom to be aware of: Somewhere in the far off distant future (if not sooner,) you might have to think about forgiveness, so that your inner peace can return to you.
So, what is forgiveness? Let me say first of all, that forgiveness is not at all the same thing as reconciliation. Forgiveness is one way. Let me say that again. Forgiveness is one way. It happens in your heart and...
I’m thinking my way through some steps to healing from spiritual abuse. How do we heal from such atrocities? Is it totally the Lord who swoops in and performs an outright miracle? He certainly could. Perhaps he does in some cases.
But is that how our healing always takes place? Or can we play a part in our healing? What does the process look like? Are there steps to go through? The following list is not meant to be comprehensive. And they’re not in any particular order. It’s simply what I’m thinking about today. See what you think.