A dad wrote: I have worked so hard on forgiveness. I know in my heart that God wants me to forgive, as He has forgiven. I have prayed for His Spirit to grant me the gift of forgiveness. I must somehow still be resistant. I sometimes, in prayer, feel I have forgiven, then the past comes back to haunt me and the anger and remembrance of betrayal returns and I am back where I do not want to be. Share with me, how do you forgive and stay in forgiveness?
My reflection: In the book Radical Acceptance, Tara Brach writes, When we forgive, we stop rigidly identifying others by their undesirable behavior. Without denying anything, we open our heart and mind wide enough to see the deeper truth of who they are. When we do, our hearts naturally open in love.
Today’s Promise to consider: I don’t have a personal process for forgiving, but I do know that in preparation for Christmas, I want to open my heart and mind wide enough to forgive those who have hurt me. As one mom wrote, “It’s anger that keeps us hostage.” Today I’ll pray.2442
Anger DOES hold us hostage and steals our spirit. It’s sometimes difficult to forgive. For instance, if my son would have killed for drugs, I don’t think I could have forgiven the offense. I ask myself, would I have forgiven my son for committing the offense? I really don’t know. I say I loved him ‘unconditionally’, but how can one really forgive someone for killing another human being?
Jesus forgave the killer that was beside him while he was being crucified. I believe that if you pray for forgiveness, forgiveness will come.
It can be very difficult to open our hearts and minds. It’s as difficult as the forgiving. But, if we sit and pray for just 10 minutes, your heart and mind will open. Ten minutes doesn’t seem like it’s a long time, but it is when you’re in prayer. Why? I don’t know. That’s why, if I pick up a rosary, I can pray for a long time (like 45 minutes) and it’s just so spiritual for me, that it allows me to think more clearly when I’m done.
We can all get wrapped up in the ‘giving’ of Christmas. All the shopping, the wrapping, the baking, we can easily forget to keep Christ in the holiday.
If you haven’t ever experienced a midnight mass in a Catholic church, no matter what religion you are, visit it sometime. It can be one of the most beautiful, spiritual experiences in your life.
Thanks Barbara …. today it snowed and I thought of how thoughts were like snow ,they come and they melt ,and in between the flakes is all this space and to get swallowed by thoughts of anger or hurt or sadness or worry I need the space … to live in the space in between the thoughts,and creating space for forgiveness makes sense to me and so does keeping the Christ light in Christmas. My son is stabilizing on methadone and begins treatment in day rehab next week but all of us are so grateful he is not in jail this Xmas like he was last — — and this more compassionate route is the one his parole officer and counsellor chose. In the spaces I pray. We pray. HE told me the voices in his head that never stopped saying use use use are five feet behind him and more like whispers. To live without the craving he is at peace. MY son at peace on a legal drug. That feels at least …safer. More hopeful.
Hope for all of us. Love to all. Pray peace for us all. Forgiveness in all our hearts for others and ourselves .Love Joy.
Oh Joy, I am so glad that your son will be with you this Christmas.
Hugs – and peace to you, too.
For so many years I think I always felt if I forgave those who had hurt me it would somehow be saying their actions or behavior were acceptable and that I was the one with the problem. Loved ones of addicts are told so often everything is our fault its no surprise we start to believe it.
I am starting to recognize that forgiveness is about MY peace and happiness and not anyone else. It does not mean that I have to accept the behaviors or actions nor does it mean I have to accept the relationship as it is.
This has been an easier process with people outside the family than it has been with my daughter, or even my husband for that matter. Sometimes when I think about everything we have been through it seems like a dream. How is it possible to give so much of yourself to someone and be betrayed this way?
I don’t know if its because she has been gone for so long that my focus for her has changed or if this is truly my ability to forgive her the past, but whatever it is it has given me some peace. I do worry that all the fear and anger will arise again but I will have to deal with that when it comes. Hopefully by practicing forgiveness with those around me now I will be better prepared to deal with what may be in the future.
There certainly are no answers or easy fixes for this, for me it seems to have simply been time. I hope it lasts.
I will think of you all over the holiday season.
Barbara, you are right about midnight mass in a Catholic Church it is a wonderful experience. Thanks you for reminding me.
Joy, I am so glad you will have your son with you this Christmas. Enjoy every moment of it.
Love to all