Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Act of Apology and Art of Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a hard thing to really, and I mean really, accomplish. It takes time, effort, reflection, and most importantly, prayer.

But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. 
Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; 
for he is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as 
your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged; 
do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you 
will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, 
pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into 
your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.
(Luke 6:35-38)

With forgiveness, we must look within ourselves even if we are working at forgiving someone for doing something to us. We are all born with sin. We are human; and not one of us is an exception aside from our Holy Mother and Jesus himself. As I get older, I know there are things that I have done in my past that were hurtful, mean, and sinful. I realize that I am sometimes ashamed of my past behavior. I always pointed my finger outward and placed blame on others. As I age, I gain wisdom, as do you. With wisdom comes internal acceptance. Accepting our own behavior as well as others. Wisdom takes part in becoming humble and gaining humility through Jesus Christ (Zep 2:3). If we can forgive ourselves for things we have done, we can move on to forgive others for what they have done to us. One way to do this is through the act of Confession.

Now, I'm no martyr. I have not been to confess my sins to our pastor in many (and I mean many) years. I planned to go last weekend but being a mom of three young ones does make it hard to get places on time...I know, I know, no excuses! I do plan, and will, to go to Confession this weekend! To be forgiven of things that weigh my heart down will feel so wonderful! For those who are not Catholic, or any other form of Christianity that does not practice this sacrament, we confess our sins to a priest, and the priest has the ability to absolve these sins. It tells us this is made so by God himself to His Apostles, who were the first priests...

From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human 
point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human 
point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if 
anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has 
passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from 
God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us 
the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was 
reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses 
against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. 
So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his 
appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 
(2 Cor 5:16-20)

It's a great feeling when another person says, "I forgive you." How much more awesome is it that God says it through a human being?! I tell my kids all the time that Jesus is in all of us, which is true! What a miracle, right?! So not only to forgive someone fully, but to really truly be sorry for something we've done is so important in this life. To acknowledge and repent our sins is a must. To fully forgive someone for even the most grave sins against us is also necessary. 

I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, 
that I have sinned through my own fault. In my thoughts and in my 
words, in what I have done and what I have failed to do; 
and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin, all the angels and saints, 
and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord, our God. Amen.

Is there anyone you have hurt in the past, even accidentally? Think about truly apologizing to them and seeking Christ for ultimate forgiveness as well. Xoxo.

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