Forgiveness is essential in life. All of us need to be forgiven. All of us will have an opportunity to forgive others. We know, in our hearts and in our quiet moments of truth, that all of the above is true, but it’s tricky business and most of us find it exceedingly difficult to be forgiving and to ask for or receive forgiveness. Some of us never come to God or others for forgiveness because we think we aren’t ‘good’ enough to be forgiven. Others think it’s right to withhold forgiveness because the other person is just ‘to bad’, or hurt us too deeply.
It’s always true to say that we are supposed become more and more like Jesus, who is completely forgiving. It’s also true to say that that is considerably easier said than done! One way to become a more forgiving person is to spend time on our personal spiritual lives. There are a few ways that are simple to do, and just require an increase in time commitment to our relationship with God. Yes, more time devoted to growing in faith is necessary and yes, you can re-organize your priorities in order to achieve your faith life goals.
As we grow in our relationship with God and we become more spiritually healthy through the above practices, we become more like Jesus in every way. Slowly over time, we will notice that we seek, offer and are able to receive forgiveness in a much more Christ like manner. We’ll also notice that life is less stressful, priorities are more about what’s right and good in God than about things that make us temporarily happy or satisfied. We’ll become more loving and therefore more forgiving. We will increasingly reflect the image of God to others.
Do we really want to miss out on the gifts and graces of God just because we prefer a life of one crisis after another, bearing grudges that darken our hearts, controlling others through anger, intimidation or destructive words? Don’t we all want to experience true freedom from inner turmoil? Just like with dieting, wanting to be healthier is the first step but we have to ACT in order to lose the ‘excess unhealthy baggage’ we carry around.
Fr. Blair Gaynes has been in the Diocese since 2008.