On Forgiveness – Step 1: Knowing who I am!

img_1596I needed to know who I am before I could forgive others and sometimes I found I had to forgive myself first.

It took me years to accept God’s unconditional love.  I gave God many of reasons to leave me but God never left.

I read about, heard about God’s unconditional love but to accept that I am lovable took years.  It also took people (“Jesus with skin on” as my friend Tory would say) to show me the way.  To actually love me and not just tell me about His great love.   It took reading scripture and going to mass to hear the word of love.

 

It is very easy to feel unlovable.   Myself I heard words that I didn’t belong in certain groups, or that I wouldn’t amount to anything because as a I didn’t run as fast as other team members.

There were times when I wanted to prove myself and even if I hit a triple in softball it wasn’t good enough because it wasn’t a home run.  The stinking thinking had an effect on my personal life and my spiritual life.

Sometimes I wanted to prove myself to God, but truth is God didn’t need proof.  He created me, He called me, He loved me.  I simply had to turn my will over to His and follow Him.

Once I could accept that love, then as a child of God and a follower  —  I had to be the person God created me to be.  Forgiveness isn’t always about doing something but it is about being the person that I am created to be.   That life in Christ makes me die to self, to pride and self-righteousness.  God already died for all the sins, I just had to say “I am sorry” and “I forgive you”.

Knowing Christ died for all –  I remember that moment when the knowledge that Christ died for all moved from my head to my heart.  — Titus 2:11 “For the grace of God has appeared, saving all..”   I was on retreat and the preacher said, Christ died for everyone– I had to think of everyone… those who I felt justified to hold a grudge, and I had to let go the grudge so God’s mercy could flow.

Maybe it is not just knowing who I am but who I am not – I am not the judge and I am not the creator.   God chose to give everyone free will, that ability to decide between good and evil.    There are times when I made the evil choice and times when someone chose to do evil that caused me pain and suffering.

When I made the bad choice then I have to repent, to make amends with those I hurt.

When others made the choice against me, I can take on the attitude of Christ.  I can choose to forgive.  Christ took it upon Himself to die for our sins.

Going to the next step and putting forgiveness into an action take time, God’s timing!  It takes God’s grace and courage to be a willing servant of God.   As always, my thoughts are scattered and I need more time for reflection.

Have in you the same attitude
that is also in Christ Jesus,
Who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness;
and found human in appearance,
he humbled himself,
becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name
which is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. – Phil 2:5-11

 

“God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 Jn 4:16). These words from the First Letter of John express with remarkable clarity the heart of the Christian faith: the Christian image of God and the resulting image of mankind and its destiny. In the same verse, Saint John also offers a kind of summary of the Christian life: “We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us”. — Benedict XVI, December 25, 2005, Deus Caritas est

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