Have people wronged you? Have you wronged others? Of course, you cannot go through life without experiencing either event. As much as we are loath to admit it, we have screwed over quite a lot of people over the decades of our lives.
We can ask forgiveness. If it is not possible to seek forgiveness of those we have harmed, we can still go straight to God.
However, there’s a catch. In order for our sins to be forgiven, it is contingent upon our forgiving others for actions committed against us. We cannot expect to be forgiven if we do not extend that to others.
It’s hard. Sometimes we feel that in not forgiving we are not surrendering to those who have harmed us; that in not “letting go” we are still binding them to our pain and grief. Fact is, they’ve likely moved on and have forgotten the incident, or worse, don’t care. So in holding onto the resentment, we are in fact letting them continue to defeat us, without their ever doing anything.
So, forgive. Forgiveness does not mean reconciliation. You needn’t seek out the person and make up. It might be nice, but it is not always desireable. Some relationships are best left in the past.
But you can cut the ties that bind you to the emotions of the thing they did to you. You can forgive them and finally “let it go.”
The Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Matthew, from today’s Mass on the Tuesday of the First Week of Lent:
And when praying, do not choose many words, as the pagans do. For they think that by their excess of words they might be heeded.
Therefore, do not choose to imitate them. For your Father knows what your needs may be, even before you ask him.
Therefore, you shall pray in this way: Our Father, who is in heaven: May your name be kept holy.
May your kingdom come. May your will be done, as in heaven, so also on earth.
Give us this day our life-sustaining bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation. But free us from evil. Amen.
For if you will forgive men their sins, your heavenly Father also will forgive you your offenses.
But if you will not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive you your sins.
Recite the prayer, slowly and prayerfully. Especially the last few lines on forgiveness.Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)"The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"