By Maura Byrne | Founder of Made in His Image
Have you forgiven the people who hurt you Maura? A young woman asked me the other day. If so, how did you forgive them? Because I want to, but I don’t know how.
I am certainly no expert on forgiveness, but I do know that our mission in life is to mirror our Heavenly Father’s love and mercy, especially in the midst of adversity. Now, I know what you’re thinking…but that’s so hard.
You better believe it’s hard.
You must ask God for the grace to forgive from your heart. Because when you do, it not only sets you free, but it releases the one who has caused the harm as well, which is a major component in regards to forgiveness. Oftentimes forgiveness involves forgiving several people, lastly yourself, which is commonly deemed the most challenging.
You must wage war with countless thoughts, Well surely if I had done or said something different, so and so would have responded in a different manner. So really, I had this coming to me, it must either be partially or entirely my fault. Or, if I was stronger and knew how to defend myself, no one would have hurt or taken advantage of me. So again, it really is my fault for not being tougher.
Those are lies that you must learn to reject and replace with positive thoughts.
In regards to my personal story, I learned to forgive from the One who has forgiven me. I basked in His Sacraments daily. I sat in His presence daily and asked for the grace to forgive. I still do, as forgiveness is a choice. Everyday when I get up, I ask for the grace to choose to forgive. I challenged myself to think about the one who had done the wrong. I wonder why they did that? What was their upbringing like? Consider how much they must have been hurting to have done what they did?
Now, does that take away the pain? No. Does that make you feel any better? No. Does that stop the tears from flowing? No. Does that stop the nightmares? No. Is that what we are called to do? Yes.
Why? (One of my favorite words).
Because it’s what Christ would do. Think of the Beatitudes because they are the essence of the life of Christ. The poor in spirit, mourning, meekness, hunger and thirst, merciful, clean of heart, peacemakers, persecution, insult – they are all characteristics of Christ’s life. Look at the Cross, for that is what you are called to. Your reward – Eternal Life! A crown of glory as a Saint in the Kingdom of Heaven. And remember, forgiveness doesn’t excuse their behavior. Forgiveness prevents their behavior from destroying you.
It is easy?
Is it worth it?
So let’s do it together, you and I. Let’s spread the love of the Father. Let’s show mercy and offer forgiveness. Let’s love one another. Let’s smile. Let’s suffer with courage. Let’s be saints.
P.S. You are enough.