Today I am grateful for forgiveness. I have noticed lately how many conversations I have had with people that have revolved around being hurt and a need to forgive. Or conversations about how hard it is for people to forgive themselves. Forgiveness, I think, is the hardest part of following Jesus. We are told to go and reconcile with each other before we approach the altar of God. God wants us all to be reconciled — with Him, with each other and with ourselves.
But somehow we have trouble finding our way there. We feel vulnerable. What if I forgive this person, and they hurt me again? So we shut down, thinking that’s the way to protect ourselves.
But we couldn’t be more wrong. The author Anne LaMott says not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die. Holding on to anger and resentments, nursing grudges — these are the things that eat away at our souls. Not forgiving ourselves for the ways we have failed — that just leads us further down the rabbit hole of despair.
I am grateful today that we always have the possibility of forgiveness offered to us. Jesus tells us to forgive seventy times seven. A tall order, for sure — but the good news is that is how endlessly God forgives us. The key to opening ourselves to forgiving is letting the forgiveness of God into our own hearts.
This Lent at St Thomas, we will be looking more deeply at this issue of forgiveness. For now, I am grateful that forgiveness is always a possibility everyday.
Who do you need to forgive?