«To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness» (Daniel 9:9)
Throughout this month, we will meditate on forgiveness. It is a sensitive topic because it can influence how we relate to others. When people offer us forgiveness, we become receptive to them. On the other hand, when we are the ones offering forgiveness, we often become reluctant. Whether we are the ones offering or receiving forgiveness, we know that we all need it. Most importantly, we need forgiveness for our sins. Asking for forgiveness from our past mistakes, even if they had been made voluntarily or not, is necessary if we want to regain peace. We need to accept forgiveness and learn to forgive ourselves or those who hurt or offend us so that we can have peace of mind and obtain reconciliation. Asking and granting forgiveness carries with them certain risks.
Shame and fear of being rejected are the main obstacles people face when asking for forgiveness. In an effort to protect our ego, we sometimes deny the fact that we have hurt other people, thereby extending the suffering of both parties. This makes forgiveness something strange and difficult to achieve for the human being. On the contrary, the Bible emphasizes this fact, «To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness» (Dan. 9:9). Forgiving the undeserving is the specialty of a good and pardoning God (Ps. 86:5).
There are many references to forgiveness in the Bible. In general, most of the religious groups recommend forgiveness as a way to reestablish broken relationships. Likewise, most doctrines encourage us to ask for divine forgiveness for sins. In science, the theme of forgiveness has been addressed through psychology. In a bibliographical review published in the Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy: An International Quarterly, researchers Giacomo Bono and Michael McCullough from the University of Miami emphasized the necessity of promoting forgiveness in psychological therapy in order to regain mental health. Other researchers have revealed that forgiveness can have beneficial effects even for the physical health of the one who offers forgiveness. In fact, its consequences go beyond reducing anger or resentment and reach the tiniest molecules of the human body.
Today, we invite you to review your life and try to remember if you need to forgive someone. At the same time, think if there is someone you need to apologize to. Take each of these situations to God and ask Him to give you courage to deal with them. By His side, you will learn to forgive as He forgave you. With His help, you will be able to live free of guilt, hate and resentment.