Getting right with God and with man

From Blaming to Forgiving

Our most painful suffering often comes from those who love us and those we love. The relationships between husband and wife, parents and children, brothers and sisters, teachers and students, pastors and parishioners – these are where our deepest wounds occur. Even late in life, yes, even after those who wounded us have long since died, we might still need help to sort out what happened in these relationships.

The great temptation is to keep blaming those who were closest to us for our present, condition saying: “You made me who I am now, and I hate who I am.” The great challenge is to acknowledge our hurts and claim our true selves as being more than the result of what other people do to us. Only when we can claim our God-made selves as the true source of our being will we be free to forgive those who have wounded us ~ Henri Nouwen.

Yesterday i was blessed to make my confession to a wonderfully insightful priest of the parish we attend regularly when in this part of Wales. On my mind of late have been those sins of mine which nailed Jesus to the Cross, especially those sins by which i have caused others to sin, and those to whom my words or actions have impacted detrimentally, at least, those that are known to me.

After making my confession, the priest to whom i confessed, asked me especially to pray for those whom i have hurt or whom have hurt me, and to offer prayer daily for those who i don’t like and whom don’t like me.

This i will do.

It seemed especially pertinent then to share with you the above Nouwen quote that arrived in my inbox this morning.

God forgives, and so i forgive, but will those whom i have hurt, forgive me?

God asks us to forgive not one time, not two times,  but a multitude of times and yet i am sure i am not alone in carrying many scars from past hurts….yet it is often hard to let go of these, we like to hold onto them don’t we? We tend to want to talk about them or to think about them over and over…we tend to consider how  hard done by we we have been, how unjustified our ill treatment…don’t we? Poor us!

But if we are going to move forward along our Christian journey, how can we do so if we are chained to the heavy baggage of  old wounds?

Yet daily i believe we are called to hand over our lives to God, not just in what we will do, but in what we have already done….the words of forgiveness are easily said, but they have to practiced daily….daily dying to the self that wants to cry out against that which we consider to be personal injustices.

We read in Scripture that  new wine can not be poured into old wine skins, well, how can new life be poured into a vessel such as ourselves when we are so full of hurt, pain, resentment and anger, that there is no room left for anything good to be poured in?

Most of us empty ourselves of physical ‘waste’ on a regular basis, why then, as Christians, are we so keen to allow ourselves to become spiritually constipated when we know it does us no good?

Just a thought or two.

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16 Responses to Getting right with God and with man

  1. Sarah says:

    Good thoughts, those. Thank you for sharing and God bless you!

  2. thank you for that. I needed to read that!

  3. That’s a great post. I can tell from the wording that you seem to be a catholic. Are you a regenerated catholic? Do you know 100% for sure that you’re going to heaven when you die? You speak of Christ and the cross, so it would seem that you are, but I must know for sure because I believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven, not penance, or church attendance, good works, or any such thing, but that it is a free gift from God that was paid for at Calvary.
    The next thing I wanted to say is that I learned in a sermon that forgiveness is not an act, but rather it is a decision. You must decide “Okay, God, I am going to forgive this person.” It doesn’t mean that you forget, but it is a decision and then you must ask God’s grace to help you with that decision. The priest was definitely right to tell you to pray for those people. My good friend, Will Fowler, had a lot of bitterness towards his father, and when God revealed this to him, he began to pray for his father everyday. Finally, his father and he were on a missions trip to india, and they were praying together, and God tapped Will on the shoulder and asked him, “How do you feel about your [earthly] father?” and he felt nothing but God’s love for his father, because he had finally been able to forgive. He forgave him long ago, because he made the choice, but it took a lot of prayer to let go of the pain.
    Also, I just wanted to make you aware of a verse in First Timothy chapter 2 verse 5: “For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;” there is but one mediator, Jesus Christ. He did away with the priestly order when He payed for our sins on calvary.
    I hope you find this info helpful.
    God bless,
    Michie D.

  4. Owen says:

    I have no control over whether they will forgive me. Thankfully I am released by God from this burden though releasing myself from it is the trick. May the peace of Christ rule us.

  5. ukok says:

    Owen, spot on! God forgives, so i forgive and i am forgiven because i confess my sins. I can do nothing more than to pray for others to be of generous heart towards me as i hope i am to them. God’s forgiveness liberates me so that i don’t have to spend the rest of my life beating myself up about the mistakes i make. What is God’s forgiveness for if i don’t embrace absolution?

  6. ukok says:

    Michie, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I disagree with you about their being one mediator between God and man, have you never asked anyone to pray for you?

  7. I have most definitely asked someone to pray for me before. I was referring to the confession of sin. This man had stated that he confessed his sin to the priest, which is biblically wrong and unnecessary.

  8. Mimi says:

    Absolutely fantastic post. And, I’m so glad you got a good confession in this Holy Week.

  9. Rita says:

    Great, and inspired post!

  10. Oh, and a thought that just hit me, the whole ‘one mediator’ idea is not my own, and I am wrong to attempt to claim credit for it. The idea behind that one belongs to the Bible. As I said, it’s in First Timothy Chapter 2 Verse 15. The Bible is the ultimate authority as God’s Word. Are you a regenerated believer?

  11. We pray to the Saints & Our Lady for their intercession for us too. The Sacrament of Confession is a great gift to us..Catholics are richly blessed.Deo Gratias

  12. O says:

    @ Michie

    One mediator. Absolutely. But many intercessors. You cloud two issues. One being to whom we confess our sins, the other being whom we may seek prayer from.

    The one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church that Jesus established teaches that there is one mediator, the Catholic Church does not teach otherwise. However there are many intercessors. As the bible and the Church teach there is nothing that separates us from the love of Christ not even death and so there is no reason why we cannot seek the intercession of those who have gone before us any more than we would not hesitate to ask a believer who is physically alive to pray for us.

    In regard to confession to a priest, it is much too large a topic (as are the other issues you manage to raise in a single sentence in your initial post) to attempt to solve in comment boxes but there is a clear and reasoned answer that you may examine should you seek to do so.

    Of course the one mediator idea is not your own, how silly to think any Catholic might presume such of you. However as a sola scriptura Christian how you interpret the bible is based upon your own authority to do so which one of the great weaknesses of protestantism (I say this as someone who was, for 20 years, an ordained protestant minister). One sect says the bible only says this while another sect completely disagrees based upon what the bible only says to them. The question of authority (and that the essential question here) is solved when we look to the Church that Jesus established and gave teaching authority too which can be clearly seen in the New Testament. Again, this is a larger topic that can be sorted out in someones combox.

    Michie, that you are sincere is not in doubt. However should you wish to move beyond repeating the same tired misunderstandings and misinterpretations of what Catholics and are presumed to believe and teach and should you desire to fairly examine what the Church actually teaches there are many, many resources available on the Internet to help you out such as (to name but a few) fisheaters.com, catholicscomehome.org, catholic.com (commonly known as “Catholic Answers) where you will also find a forum with people who would be more than pleased to discuss sincere questions any protestant may raise.

    And, one would do well to go straight to the horse’s mouth, as it were, and look at the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) before presuming to know what the Catholic Church teaches and advise, if sincerely, as to what Catholics must do. scborromeo.org/ccc.htm is an excellent start.

    Allowing an editorial comment as I take my leave:

    In the 1500s the Church needed reformation and many reformers are found at that time within her. What was not needed was rebellion. It strikes me as terrifically sad and ironic that the general view among protestants is that Catholics are not truly Christian (or worse) whereas Catholics who believe what our Church teaches (again see the CCC) know that true followers of Christ maybe found outside the Catholic Church. That one is a Baptist or a Pentecostal or a Methodist (and we must stop here for the list is indeed legion) does not mean, ipso factor, that one is not Christian. Catholics understand that those baptized according to a Trinitarian formula (in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit) are our brothers and sisters in Christ. We correctly refer to them as our separated brethren. This is not a term of derogation but of fact for it is not the Church that has separated these believers but these believers themselves, in full knowledge or in honest ignorance, have separated themselves from the Church. They, you, are true Christians and will be united in eternity with us but who presently are sadly living outside the fullness of the faith and all the graces for daily living that are available to them through the Sacraments of the Catholic Church.

    May God bless you and grant you wisdom and peace as you continue to seek peace and pursue truth.

  13. Suzanne says:

    Dear Michie, (and any others who desire to read)
    Peace of Jesus be with you. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is so beautiful and such a lovely gift. The freedom to ask others to pray for us and with us..those we believe already in the peace of Heaven and those present here with us who love Jesus and only desire to continue to love Him and receive the peace of Heaven someday, is another amazing gift. Do not be sad about these gifts and treasure them instead of questioning…God is so good! If He loves us as we believe, then we must know that every gift He gives us that will aid and help us to come closer and closer to Him is Grace.
    May you have a Blessed Easter..may we all in our hearts, minds, and souls! Amen

  14. ukok says:

    Michie, thanks for sharing your further thoughts, but i believe if you read through the responses here you will better understand the Catholic position. Many thanks to my Catholic friends who have commented here in my absence (i am currently on holiday/vacation and have only a little time on the internet each day or every other day).

    God Bless!

  15. Tim J. says:

    Michie, I’m curious about what you make of John 20:23;

    “…’As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.’ 22And with that he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.’ ”

    Christ gave his Apostles the power to forgive sins in His name. It’s right there in the Bible.

    Nice post, Ukok. “Spiritual constipation”… great concept! I think I’ll steal it. Forgiving comes easier to me when I remember that the one who may have harmed me is also a victim of his/her sin against me, and will perhaps suffer from their sin much more than I do. Their sin may scar my body or my heart, but it will scar them in their spirit, which is far worse.

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