As we forgive those who trespass against us (OF8)

On January 29, 2015, I wrote about the Our Father’s ‘as we.’ I stated that if we don’t forgive others, we will not be forgiven; we will be forgiven only as we forgive. Here’s the link:

Forgiveness of others doesn’t mean that what they did doesn’t matter; it doesn’t minimize their wrong. Forgiving removes us from the emotional entanglement. We let God handle it and allow ourselves to heal from the hurt. Forgiving can be a very difficult thing to do. Even when we ask for God’s help, it can still be difficult, but if we ask Him sincerely, He will help us through those painful steps. Even if all you can do is to say ‘God I need to forgive this person, but I don’t know how,’ that can be an important first step.

Some time ago, my spiritual director had me write down a list of the people who hurt me that I needed to forgive. It turned out to be a pretty long list! She asked me to talk to God about those people and situations. I was to forgive them and explore any emotions that arose as a result. This process took quite some time. In fact, it would be good for me to see when that list was dated and make a list of people since then that I need to forgive.

Forgiveness is an ongoing activity until the day we die. We are fallible human beings who hurt others and who get hurt. We can feel ‘broken’ and bruised by what life, and other people, throw our way. To begin healing our brokenness, we need to pray and forgive. See my blog entry on April 18, 2015, entitled “woundedness, resentment, forgiveness, and healing”: With God’s help, forgiveness becomes possible.
Copyright © 2015 by Theresa M. Williams

Woundedness, resentment, unforgiveness and healing

These are forms of spiritual junk, which is anything that hinders us from being what God intends us to be. While there are many kinds of spiritual junk, I will address three: woundedness, resentment and unforgiveness.

Woundedness: someone has hurt us, and the emotional scars are still there. We know they are still there because when we think of the person or the hurt, it’s painful. If we don’t address this, our woundedness can fester and become ‘infected’ and result in ill will and resentment. Resentment can turn into unforgiveness, and that is spiritually dangerous. If we don’t forgive the other person, then God will not forgive us. Forgiving someone does not mean that we condone the perpetrator’s actions. It means we allow God to administer justice, we let go of the resentment, and we ask God to heal us. It begins with a decision of the will. We may not feel the forgiveness in our hearts yet; that (usually) takes time.

How do we go about the process of healing? We begin by asking God, by praying. If our hearts are such that we don’t want to forgive, we start by asking God for the desire to forgive. Then we ask God for help in letting go of our hurt. This will most likely take some time. It may help us to close our eyes and picture Jesus, the divine physician, holding our heart in His sacred hands and healing our brokenness, our wounded spirit.

How do we know we’ve forgiven or been healed of the wound? We know when we think of the individual or the incident and it no longer provokes an emotional reaction in us.

Copyright © 2015 by Theresa M. Williams