Forgiveness.

Ultimately, we can really forgive people only because Christ rose from the dead; his Resurrection is the guarantee that God can cure every wrong and every hurt.
— Jacques Philippe, Interior Freedom

Sisters & Brothers,

The more I simplify the things in my life the more time I find I have. I've been finding that this time generally is filled with writing, reading (both recreational and spiritual), prayer and contemplation. One of the major themes that I've been working through lately is the idea of forgiveness.

I used to hold grudges, walk around mad at someone or a group of people who I felt wronged me, was poking fun at me, etc. I look back on it now and realize that it was all for nought. These days I take a much different approach. I had this lightning bolt moment a few weeks ago with the recurring theme of if Jesus forgives everything I do why shouldn't I forgive everything someone does against me? Who am I not to forgive? Who are we not to forgive? By not forgiving our neighbors for what they do are we proclaiming that we are somehow above the Lord in this regard? That's the third rail of religion for me friends (touch it and you die) and I'm not going there.

Matthew says the following:

If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, you Father will not forgive your sins.
— Matthew 6:14-15

This is a very important point to consider and one I will hold near and dear to my heart for the rest of my days. I'll always forgive you my sisters and brothers, whether you realized you've wrong me or not. And while some folks might call me crazy for forgiving someone who's wronged me I ensure you that I firmly believe that I am not the one who should be judging you. It's not my place, it never was and it never will be.

The Lord would always want us to forgive and pray for our neighbors and that's what I strive to do on a daily basis and something I challenge you to do as well.

This doesn't just include the faithful either. Even if you're someone who doesn't have a connection to a religion it's a common human principle. Often times the person who wronged you has no idea what they've done (obviously there are cases that people actually want to do harm, we're not covering that here). I want to believe that most people are good people and in the heat of a moment or a time of desperation or when passions are running high folks can say and do things they often would never have said or done before and after that bit of time. It's up to us, the people on the receiving end of whatever the incident was to be thoughtful and mindful of the entire situation and take a step back before reacting. I find I usually just need a little bit to collect myself and my thoughts and 99% of the time I instantly start feeling better and move along. I'd challenge you to do the same as you pass through your days. Be a little more kind, thoughtful, mindful and forgiving to those around us, for they know not what they do.

And if you're someone who enjoys mocking, poking fun, arguing or spreading hate perhaps you should also take a step back and view the entire landscape around you before you act. The world is beautiful and I'm unsure why you'd ever want to muck it up with darkness. You never know how hurtful your actions (no matter how small or large) are to the person on the receiving end.

Yours,
Jeff

Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash