Monday, September 12, 2011

Steps of Forgiveness

There was an interesting section in the reflection shared yesterday, the 10th anniversary of an attack on our country.  A quote from Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a retired Anglican bishop of South Africa, and formerly chairman of South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission begins with him stating that to forgive goes beyond the unselfish devotion to the cause of others.
To forgive is a process that does not exclude hate and anger.  These emotions are all part of being human.  You should never hate yourself for hating others who do terrible things; the depth of your love is shown by the extent of your anger... When I talk of forgiveness, I mean the belief that you can come out the other side a better person.  A better person than the one being consumed by anger and hatred.
The Gospel and New Testament readings also talk about forgiveness.  Jesus' instruction to forgive someone seventy-seven times, and Paul pointing out that, "We will all stand before the judgment seat of God."  It's not our responsibility to judge others. 

I think the most interesting part of the reflection by Harry Denman said this:
We often think of forgiveness as something that someone who has done us wrong must ask of us!  Let's take the high road, difficult as it may be.  Let us forgive the person who has wronged us before the hatred eats away at our ability to forgive.  It will not be easy, but God is there to help.  We can do this by offering that individual up to God, not sitting in judgment, but by simply saying, "Help so and so and mend our relationship." ... When we withhold forgiveness, we remain the victim.  When we offer forgiveness, we are doing it only for our own well-being.  Forgiveness allows us to move beyond the pain, the resentment, and the anger.  We always have a choice; to forgive or not to forgive.  When we forgive, we make the choice that heals.
The whole sermon the above was taken from can be found here

When we think about the acts committed on 9/11/2001, maybe now, ten years later, we can begin to make the choice that heals.

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