WE ALL HAVE been offended at some point, others have advised us to forgive the other offender. We show that forgiving is a Christian principle we have to put in to practice, but it’s not easy to do so. Forgiving is a process that takes time; it requires spiritual and emotional resources, a lot of courage and reflection not only about what happen, but also about life and salvation. Forgiving is a process that takes time; it requires spiritual and emotional re- sources, a lot of courage and reflection not only about what happened, but also about life and salvation.
For many people, staying stuck in the offense is more comfortable than laying hold of the resources needed to release bitterness and resentment with courage while looking to both parties’ future. Staying stuck in the offense is a way of being permanent hostages of pain caused by occasional betrayal or harm. It means making the offender responsible for our own suffering; it means deciding to remain victims every single day. Nobody, be- sides ourselves, can chain us down to the self-destruction generated by the offense. Would that be wise? Since the lack of forgiveness enslaves us, shuts down the flow of happiness and keeps us from being free, would it make sense to decide not to forgive?
Maybe from your perspective, the offender does not deserve forgiveness, and it gratifies you to let him know it through complaints, contempt, mistreatment and insults, not realizing that the punishment or penance that you inflict is actually a self-punishment and penance you will pay in your own life.
Forgiveness is a donation of love; love received from God who, while we were still sinners, not only forgave us but also died a shameful death on the cross, a punishment that was reserved for evildoers and criminals. Forgiving isn’t justifying the offense or overlooking it; it does not mean opening the door to allow ourselves to be offended in the future by the same person. We can forgive while we establish at the same time healthy boundaries to protect our integrity as daughters of God.
When we forgive, peace comes; and it does so in three dimensions: l) peace with God, 2) peace with yourself and 3) peace with the offender. Waiting until someone apologizes is a waste of time, because it might never happen and, while you wait, your personal growth is stunted. Why knowingly deny yourself the ability to enjoy life without RESENTMENT?
May our prayer be, “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6:12).