Thursday, December 29, 2005


In one of Father Phan's sermons he preached on the seven habits of highly effective Christians. In his list, forgiveness was one of the habits. He stated that in order to be able to love, one must be able to forgive. And that means even forgiving those that do not show remorse for their actions.

Sometimes all of this in theory is easier said than done. Sometimes it takes a long time to forgive, but as a Christian we must. I didn't understand the power of forgiveness until I had to really do it.

After my failed marriage, I have to admit I was very bitter and angry towards my ex. We stayed on fairly friendly terms and the divorce was amicable, but I did harbor a grudge. I was angry at myself for many reasons, but I also wanted to place a huge pile of blame on my ex. But once I started going to Church (a year after the divorce), I realized that the anger and resentment was a burden to keep. As I went through the annulment process and had to write out many details about my marriage, I finally decided that the bitterness and anger served no purpose except it continued to hurt me. My ex had moved on and although at one point I wanted him to truly regret hurting me; I realized that it wasn't up to me to make anyone feel any other way. And I realized that wanting him to hurt was wrong, despite any amount of hurt I felt. I understood that the only person's feelings that I could be responsible for was my own. So I decided to let go of the hurt and anger and realized that what happened in our past didn't matter. I focused on the good things that came out of my marriage. It's not that I don't remember the bad stuff... but I know it doesn't serve any purpose to dwell on it. I use my knowledge to hopefully avoid future mistakes and that's it. And amazingly he and I have become good friends again. We talk from time to time as friends and it's a nice feeling.
I've discovered that if you can truly forgive, it is so freeing. It allowed me to move on. I think if I had been able to do it sooner, then my relationship with Marty might have been different. Because I think Father Phan is right.. we can't really love until we learn to forgive.

Once I learned how rewarding forgiveness is, I placed all of my burdens of dealing with others that have caused me pain into the hands of God. And there were more. Some even more painful than my marriage; but the thing is that once I was able to do this... I was also able to let go and move forward. Not forgiving keeps us anchored to our past and the only way that we can get beyond our pain is to make the decision to forgive and if you are Christian, to give it to God. It doesn't mean that we'll ever forget the pain or that we even have to become friends with those we forgive. It just frees us of the burden that we hang on to when we don't forgive.

I am still ever so thankful for this journey I am taking into the Catholic faith. It has done more for me in the past nine months than I could have ever imagined. It has allowed me to deal with the blows of life so much better. Just because I'm going to Church doesn't mean I still don't struggle... far from it... but I am simply able to deal with things better. I have realized that I don't worry so much. I have become a much happier and content person. And the peace is simply amazing. And I thank God for all of it.

1 comment:

Diane said...

Thank you for offering your experience of forgiving. I too am a convert (of 10 years) and struggle terribly with forgiveness. For a long time I even thought He couldn't possibly be including me in this impossible expectation! You write so simple and openly from the heart and I am comforted and encouraged by it. God bless you. Diane