Each morning, as I brush my teeth, I read the Prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi – “Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace.” Reading this through slowly each day has positively affected my life, as well as helping me brush those teeth for a good 2 minutes!
Today I was stopped, paused, stuck on one particular part of the prayer:
For it is in pardoning that one is pardoned…
This brings my mind immediately to the words attributed to Jesus as he taught the disciples to pray:
Forgive us our sin, as we forgive those who sin against us…
As I meditated on this throughout my day, I began to understand the difficulty, as well as the power, of forgiveness.
I’ve never believed that God dishes out only the amount of pardoning that we give to others – thank goodness! No, God loves us unconditionally. No matter what. I do believe that these words are a constant reminder of a way of living that involves pardoning/forgiveness/reconciliation. A way of living that totally runs counter to culture. A way of living that is downright difficult!
When we are in pain, we seem to be good at finding some way to avoid the transformation of our pain. When someone hurts us, we tend to fight back! It is so easy to point fingers and find blame. This behavior however, does nothing for our own transformation and release of pain. Another way we avoid dealing with our pain directly is to play the victim card, giving us a false sense of moral superiority and outrage. It becomes easier to point to someone being worse than you are rather than forgiving, letting go, surrendering, or even growing up. Both of these paths tend to keep the pain and violence going rather than leading to healing.
Jesus calls us to be transformed as we forgive! To have true healing of our pain as we pardon! I don’t know about you, but the need to fight or point blame always caused me more pain…so why in the world wouldn’t I want transformative healing of this consuming pain? It’s when I ask myself this question, that I truly want to seek healing that begins with me letting go and forgiving – not expecting or even ever receiving the “I’m sorry” from the other. Just giving to Christ all of the pain and hurt, and turning my heart, mind, and soul to forgiving the offender.
I wish I could say that this work was instantaneous but it isn’t. I’m a work in progress! But I can tell you without hesitation that it is truly in pardoning that I am pardoned. It is in forgiving, that I am forgiven. It is in doing the work that I am forever transformed.
May you begin to experience this healing as you practice pardoning and are transformed in the process.