Monday 19 March 2018

Forgiveness is all about letting go


Ihad lunch with a friend the other day, and we got talking about forgiveness for some reason. We ended up discussing the many situations where people don't forgive. Sometimes it's among family members or friends, where someone might hold a grudge for years or maybe forever! Sometimes it's when we as a society fail to show forgiveness, and sometimes it's even when we won't forgive ourselves.

Whenever I'm addressing parents of children preparing for sacraments in school at the time of First Confessions, I try to explain the whole idea of forgiveness with a simple line: 'nature never forgives, people sometimes forgive, but God always forgives'. Nature never forgives - take a storm or a hurricane, it's completely destructive and unforgiving. People on the other hand sometimes forgive - for example if someone hit me a punch, I might forgive them, but I certainly won't forget it. But God always forgives - not only does God forgive, but he also completely forgets, it's wiped from existence as if it never happened. In the Bible it even says 'as far as east is from west, so far has God removed our sins'.

Forgiveness is important. We live in an imperfect world, even more so because we humans are so imperfect, and as a result of that most of us will at some stage be hurt by the actions or words of another, more often than not, it's someone we love. When it involves someone we love, then it makes it so much worse - there is a feeling of betrayal, a breaking of trust, a feeling of being violated by those closest to you, those you depended on, and eventually there may be a feeling of hopelessness - that there is no one who you can truly trust. Indeed, it becomes very hard to ever trust again. The sad thing about it is, that the wounds caused are wounds of bitterness and maybe even vengeance, and these can be even worse than the original wrong-doing.