As I mentioned in a previous post, anger, resentment and hatred are energy and spirit zappers.If not addressed, they tend to be near or at the forefront of our thinking and actions. The source of the feelings could be an incident rooted in our own ancient history or something that happened just a few minutes ago. Whatever the case, unless we begin to let it go the negative influence is very strong and in the end, not very satisfying. The prescription for this state of dis-ease? Forgiveness. Easy to say but very hard to do. Sometimes the pain is so deep and so horrendous that we feel WE should be the object of forgiveness. Then the act of forgiving becomes even more difficult. But what does one do when the person is dead or separated by miles and years? Well, difficult as it may be, the forgiveness we begin to show helps us break the bonds of hatred and hurt. We need not be face to face with them.
1 [Song of Ascents] From the depths I call to you, Yahweh:
2 Lord, hear my cry. Listen attentively to the sound of my pleading!
3 If you kept a record of our sins, Lord, who could stand their ground? (Ps 130:1-3)
Keep in mind, that forgiveness is a gift that we can choose not to give. It’s up to us. I can’t tell you to forgive. It’s your gift to give away, not mine. The alternative is to remain entombed with our self-righteous feelings of being slighted. The act of forgiving is not a one shot deal. It is continued over a period of time and gets easier with it. It’s acknowledging that something is holding me back from either being loving to others or leading a productive life that will get me going. If that something can be identified as something that is a block to being fully human, then the process begins. We are called from the tomb at just the right time.
39 Jesus said, ‘Take the stone away.’ Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him, ‘Lord, by now he will smell; this is the fourth day since he died.’
40 Jesus replied, ‘Have I not told you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?’ (John 11:39-40)
The feelings of resentment and anger that bubble up from our depths every time we think of that person and we are experiencing the same ancient pain again is really giving them more power over us than they deserve even beyond the grave. No matter how imperfect our forgiveness is at the time, it is something that will restore the power to us bit by little bit.
and so it goes…