Forgiveness is at the center of the Chrisitan life. The Lord’s Prayer that Jesus taught us lifts this up: Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Forgiveness is easier said than done.
After the attacks of 9/11 Chris Rank Williams said, “The Challenge of this life not to stay alive, but to stay in love.”
Episcopal Priest Rob Voyle says that, “you need to learn to forgive so you can meet the challenge of staying in love.”
Horrific wrongs and even daily slights can fill us with resentment at the person who wronged us. Resentment is what we do to ourselves in the darkness of what they have done to us.
Imagine someone whom you resent. Do you experience physical symptoms of that resentment in your body (stomach, shoulders, headache)? Resentment is remembering something from the past, but feeling it in the present moment. We angrily demand that yesterday would have been different. That people would not have done what they did. We often demand a change in the past behavior of others. The demands are often expressed as “he should have” or “she shouldn’t have.” The demands are also often very simple such as: “He should have been kind,” or “reasonable,” or “fair” or “honest,” “not so stupid.”
Demanding yesterday would have been different, doesn’t change yesterday, but it makes me miserable today.
Prayer: Merciful God, you know who I am struggling to forgive. Guide me to release my resentment so that I will not be miserable today, but live in your goodness and peace. Amen.