Lent is a perfect time for forgiveness!! We hear that Lent is a season of praying, fasting, and almsgiving, but we also hear a lot about forgiveness. Forgiveness comes in two forms forgiving others and us being forgiven in the Sacrament of Reconciliation through Confession. The two forms go hand in hand as in the Bible verse Matthew 6:15 states “But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your offenses.” It’s sounds pretty simple if you don’t forgive others no matter what, then Jesus won’t forgive our sins when we want to be forgiven, but we all no the actual act is not as simple. When someone wrongs us or treats us badly, especially if it has been done numerous times, it’s so hard to forgive them, but it’s not impossible. I’m sure that if it hasn’t happened yet, then you will experience something wrong done to you whether its physical, verbal, or emotional, there will be someone that will need your forgiveness. If during this Lent no one needs your forgiveness then consider yourself lucky, but for those who need to forgive or seek forgiveness then this is the right time to do so and as soon as possible.
When it comes to forgiveness, it doesn’t mean that you have to forget what has been done to you, you just let go of all the emotions associated with that person and their actions. Just like the saying goes “Forgive, but Don’t Forget.” It is a freeing experience and will allow your heart to love more, feel better, and be much lighter, cleaner. I know how hard it is to forgive someone even years later after what they have done, but eventually it has to be done in order to be able to move on in life.
My Forgiveness Story
When I was younger, much younger, elementary school to be exact, I had a girl who believed one thing about me and it made her not want to be my friend. She remembers us being best friends in Kindergarten and I do have a picture with her to possibly prove that statement, but somewhere down the line in elementary school, she was the opposite of being my friend. She believed that I wanted to be like her so badly, that I copied her. Copied her in what exactly? According to her, it was whatever she had and I had the same thing. But, this was not the case at all. You see she had both parents who worked extra hard and had more money than my poor single mother could have. I wasn’t able to afford all of the things that she had, but somehow sometimes I had certain things that were about the same. I remember one distinct present that I received from my mother’s friend for Christmas and it was the exact same outfit that this girl had. My mother insisted that I wear it to school, when I told her no and guess what happened when I wore it in school? The girl wore the same exact outfit on the exact same day; it was not a good day for this young, shy girl. Not only did I not have her as my friend, but also I didn’t have anyone in my class as a friend, since she was the popular girl. But, middle school came around and I remember her talking to me in the bathroom and to this day, I remember the words clearly “If you stop copying me, then I’ll be your friend.” I guess I must have made a deal, because since then she has been my friend and even my best friend and the Godmom of my son. Just because we became friends didn’t mean that I completely forgave her for everything that she had done. It took me years to reach that point. I remember every year having a similar conversation of all the past situations and her apologizing to me and feeling bad for what she had done, but also hearing me out and how it was in my point of view. After years of doing this, I forgave her and it was a moment of relief and being able to live my life past those moments in time. After all, those moments that were in my childhood, made me the way I am today and I needed to let go, in order to be stronger and to be able to stand up for my own kids.
St. Pope John Paul II’s forgiveness
The greatest forgiveness story that I heard came from our Saint Pope John Paul II. I remember my mother telling me that the pope was shot before and he forgave his assassin. I cannot even imagine being shot and then forgiving the person, who did it, just like that. I read more about what happened after Saint Pope John Paul II forgave him and it is truly amazing. He visited his assassin in prison and told him he forgave him in person. He could have done it in a letter, but he chose to visit him face to face and had a conversation with him. After the assassin was released from prison, he made sure to go to Saint Pope John Paul II’s tomb and left him white roses. He is truly the perfect example of how Jesus wants us to forgive, even in the most troubling of times.
There has never been a better time than now to forgive or seek forgiveness. As you can see it is a freeing experience and let’s both of you to let go of those built up feelings. Whether it’s someone from your childhood or a complete stranger, its time to exercise our right to forgive and to be forgiven. Let’s make it right and forgive!!
If you have someone that you need to forgive or you’re seeking forgiveness from someone, now is the perfect time to do so.
How do you feel about forgiveness?? Are you quick to forgive or do you find it so hard?? Does it depend on the situation at hand??