“Above all, may you be able to show those you meet, your peers, the Face of mercy and the love of God who always forgives, encourages, and imbues hope.” – Pope Francis
Do you feel good when someone actually says that they have forgiven you? Whether it is a forgiveness for something small, or something that you had been fighting about for years, doesn’t that burden just lift off of your shoulders? Do you feel the same way when you look someone in the eyes and say, you know what, I forgive you? Do you long for that feeling from someone that you used to be friends with? I am not talking about forgetting the actions or situations, but forgiving.
For me, the process of forgiving is hard. It always has been. I am someone who usually keeps to himself, very quiet most of the time, unless I have a passion for something, or I am forced to be on a stage, like at work. I would much rather just sit in a quiet room and be with myself, than a group of people. With that being said, I do not have a big group of people that I call friends. Lots of acquaintances, not a whole lot of friends. So, when something goes south with someone in my life, I tend to hold on to that for a while. So, trying to show others that I meet the mercy that I should be showing is hard for me. I can show it with kindness and doing things for others, but the forgiveness portion is so hard. I tend to let the voices of revenge take over instead, I feel a nagging to “get back” at them, even when I know that is the work of the devil himself.
I know that forgiveness brings forth a lighter feeling. I know this from going to Reconciliation (aka Confession). Now, most of you who are not Catholic will argue with me about how we shouldn’t “have” to go before a priest to confess our sins and all that stuff. Well, you know, unless you have been through the Sacrament itself, you will never really know what I am talking about. It is not about laying your sins out for someone who is a man, no, it involves so much more. I prep for confession. It takes me hours and lots of prayer to be fully ready for Reconciliation. Sometimes I have a list, other times it is just what is weighing on my heart. The second part is getting up the nerve to stand in line. It is not supposed to be awkward, because we are just standing in a line of sinners just like me, but it is. You feel just a little guilty, and a little out of place, but in reality, you are supposed to feel uncomfortable in religion. Jesus wanted everyone to be out of their comfort zone, and trust me, this will do it. Also, the priest is acting, as we believe in the Catholic faith, in persona Christi. I am not going to spend a whole lot of time arguing the Reconciliation process. You can find more answers here. Just know that I believe this process works, even if you may not be into it, or have a different opinion on it. Anyway, back to the long line of sinners. Once it is time to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, I go in ready to go. I follow the process, and I hear the absolution prayer being said, and I feel this boulder moved off my shoulder. Something about that moment that I can not describe other than something Devine. It is a beautiful part of my faith. To put yourself at the feet of another, knowing that you have been wrong, and asking to have your transgressions resolved is one of the most humble experiences we can have as humans. And after all, we are all called to be humble.
I am resolving today to start trying not to go down the vengeful pathways with those around me. Even grudges that I have held on for years I am going to start to work on. Yes, I have held grudges against others. These people probably never have known that I have held on to this anger for this long. It is o.k., they do not have to know, all that is needed to be known is that I am working on eroding those emotions. I would love to have them experience the same lifting that I feel when I hear the words that I am forgiven. I may not forget what happened, but at least I am at peace with it at that point. That to me is the way God wants us to be. At peace with each other.