Pray for Grace 3-27-18

Most of us aren’t likely to betray anyone to a death squad. But as we meditate on the events of the Passion, we might reflect on the times we’ve betrayed a trust, the times we’ve talked about someone behind their back, the times we’ve stayed silent when a friend has been ridiculed. Resolve to keep silent when tempted to gossip and to speak out when others are gossiping. That sounds like a challenge, doesn’t it? It is. Pray for the grace to meet it.

—from the book The Hope of Lent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis by Diane M. Houdek

The Wounded And Forgiven 3-15-18

The world contains only one thing that is truly novel: forgiveness. And this is the message of the resurrection. Everything else is like the words of an old song repeating itself endlessly over and over again. There is normally only one song that gets sung: the song of betrayal, hurt, resentment, and non-forgiveness. That pattern never changes. There is an unbroken chain of unforgiveness, resentment, and anger stretching back to Adam and Eve.

We are all part of that chain. Everyone is wounded and everyone wounds. Everyone sins and everyone is sinned against. Everyone needs to forgive and everyone needs to be forgiven.

—from the book The Passion and the Cross by Ronald Rolheiser

Let Your Light Shine 3-2-18

I know he hurt you. I know she broke your heart. I know how disappointed you are. It’s so unfair – you never should have had to experience such a thing. You deserve better. It never should have happened. I’m so sorry for what you endured.

Now you have a choice.

You can let it shut down your heart. You can let it dim your light. You can get angry. Get pissed. Get resentful. Get judgmental. Get righteous. Get victimized. Get off on how the world did you wrong.

Or you can forgive. Soften. Understand. Open. Let yourself shine.

God Forgives The Maximum 2-20-18

In the Our Father we say: “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” This is an equation. If you are not capable of forgiveness, how can God forgive you? The Lord wants to forgive you, but he cannot if you keep your heart closed and mercy cannot enter. One might object: “Father, I forgive, but I cannot forget that awful thing that he did to me….” The answer is to ask the Lord to help you forget. One must forgive as God forgives, and God forgives the maximum.”

—Pope Francis, as quoted in the book The Hope of Lent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis by Diane M. Houdek

This affirmation came to me this morning from the Franciscan Dominicans. It was sent as a reflection to focus on during this lent season. It was ironic since for lent I have made the decision not only to pray for the people who have hurt me but for the ability to forgive them as well as forgive myself and have the strength to finally put the past behind me.

My father passed away on September 14, 2011. My life changed forever that day. That day my heart broke in a million pieces. Since then I have been on a journey that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I have tried very hard to put the pieces of my heart back together, however this has proved to be a difficult task. They say you attract what you put out. I suppose this is true. When you have a broken heart you become a magnet to attracting more people in to your life who are all to willing to break your heart and bring more sorrow. That’s what happened to me.

The good news is I’ve finally recognized this and I’m eager to move on and put the pieces of my life back together. I’m tired of being sad. I’m tired of being angry. I’m tired of waiting for an apology that will never come. I’m tired of just being tired and I’m tired of trying to change the past instead of trying to change my future.

The next 40 days I will pray asking god to heal my heart. I’ll pray for the strength to forgive the people that brought me so much pain and succumb to forgetting the past that has led me down this painful road. And yes, I will be praying for the people who broke my heart. I know it will be a difficult task but a necessary task for sure. After all, how can I ask for forgiveness when I can’t offer forgiveness myself.

They say it takes 28 days to form a habit. I’m hopeful that in 28 days I’ll develop a habit of forgiveness and finally find the peace and joy I’ve been searching for and spend the last 12 days of lent living a life free of the negative emotions that have held me hostage and replace that with hope for a brighter future as I close the door of my past once and for all.

Let Go Of Your Need To Get Even 7-12-17

Never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God, for he has said that he will repay those who deserve it” (Romans 12:19a TLB).

The heart of real forgiveness is relinquishing your right to get even. The Bible says in Romans 12:19, “Never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God, for he has said that he will repay those who deserve it” (TLB).
You say, “If I give up my right to get even with somebody who’s hurt me, then that’s unfair.” You’re right! It is unfair. But whoever said forgiveness is fair? Was it fair for Jesus Christ to forgive everything you’ve ever done wrong and let you go free? No. We don’t want God to be fair to us, though. We want God to be gracious to us. We all want justice for everybody else and forgiveness for ourselves.
The truth is that life is not fair. And forgiveness is not fair. It’s called grace, and God has shown it to you. One day, God is going to have the last word. He’s going to settle the score. He’s going to right the wrong. Leave the justice part to God. You just concern yourself with forgiving so there can be peace in your heart and you can get on with your life.
If you don’t do this, you will fall into the trap of bitterness. Resentment and bitterness are worthless emotions. In fact, doctors tell us they are the unhealthiest emotions. They will eat you alive like cancer. All your resentment and bitterness toward people who have hurt you in the past isn’t going to change the past, and it certainly won’t change the future. All it can do is mess up today.
When you hold on to resentment, you allow people from your past to continue to hurt you today. And that’s not smart! The people in your past are past. They cannot continue to hurt you unless you choose to hold on to the hurt. Instead, let go of your need to get even or make things fair. Leave it up to God.
The Bible says, “Be careful that none of you fails to respond to the grace which God gives, for if he does there can very easily spring up in him a bitter spirit which is not only bad in itself but can also poison the lives of many others” (Hebrews 12:15 Phillips) – Pastor Rick Warren 

The Importance Of Forgiveness 4-18-17

Importance Of ForgivenessBY MADISYN TAYLOR
In order to forgive we need to stop identifying ourselves with the suffering that was caused us.
When someone has hurt us, consciously or unconsciously, one of the most difficult things we have to face in resolving the situation is the act of forgiveness. Sometimes it feels like it’s easier not to forgive and that the answer is to simply cut the person in question out of our lives. In some cases, ending the relationship may be the right thing to do, but even in that case, we will only be free if we have truly forgiven. If we harbor bitterness in our hearts against anyone, we only hurt ourselves because we are the ones harboring the bitterness. Choosing to forgive is choosing to alleviate ourselves of that burden, choosing to be free of the past, and choosing not to perceive ourselves as victims. 

One of the reasons that forgiveness can be so challenging is that we feel we are condoning the actions of the person who caused our suffering, but this is a misunderstanding of what is required. In order to forgive, we simply need to get to a place where we are ready to stop identifying ourselves with the suffering that was caused us. Forgiveness is something we do for ourselves, and our forgiveness of others is an extension of our readiness to let go of our own pain. Getting to this point begins with fully accepting what has happened. Through this acceptance, we allow ourselves to feel and process our emotions. 
It can be helpful to articulate our feelings in writing over a period of days or even weeks. As we allow ourselves to say what we need to say and ask for what we need to heal, we will find that this changes each day. It may be confusing, but it is a sign of progress. At times we may feel as if we are slogging uphill through dense mud and thick trees, getting nowhere. If we keep going, however, we will reach a summit and see clearly that we are finally free of the past. From here, we recognize that suffering comes from suffering, and compassion for those who have hurt us naturally arises, enhancing our new perspective.