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.