«And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us» (Luke 11:4).
FORGIVING those who have offended us seems impossible! Especially when someone we really care about has betrayed us, causing us pain, too deep to put into words. When that happens, we feel paralyzed, unable to understand what happened and why. That’s when our well-meaning friends and family advise us to forgive the person who offended us; but that advice plunges us into an even greater despair, because we realize that we are unable to forgive. Inability to forgive makes the healing process almost impossible.
Several psychological currents suggest some forgiveness techniques following a few easy steps to unlock the chains that have ensnared us in anger and resentment. For instance, working on the «reptilian brain,» that supposedly helps solve in only twenty minutes the «non-forgiving» stalemate. I don’t really believe in those techniques. What I firmly believe is that the insults people utter to us are part of our existence here, in this imperfect and sinful world. Above all, I also think God allows them so we may learn lessons that will make us grow in Christ. None of that’s accomplished in only twenty minutes.
Forgiveness is a person’s internal process, and it requires humility and a strong will power, as well as faith in the callings God makes to forgive found in His Word.
Humility leads us to set pride aside and acknowledge the fact that we are also imperfect, able to offend in acts and words (as we actually do it).
Willpower is the strength that comes from God, to help us get rid of resentment and anger we feel toward someone that offended us. What would we do without that gift from Heaven?
Faith, in turn, is what drives us to think, «Lord, if you tell me that I must forgive, I will do it in your name. You know the reasons and I trust you.» If someone has wounded your heart, destroyed your dreams or trampled on your dignity, enter into the sanctuary of prayer. There, on your knees, is when the process of healing begins; when God’s peace covers your anger and makes it disappear. Forgiveness isn’t something you give someone because they deserve it; it’s a gift you receive from God.