"This is how you are to pray:
Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
"If you forgive men their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you do not forgive men,
neither will your Father forgive your transgressions."
Sometimes forgiveness is so hard. I can get stuck on the same issue and say that I forgive and perhaps even mean it but the feeling of abandonment, betrayal, and anger soon returns. Sometimes I just ask for the desire to forgive. I know it is the spiritually and psychologically healthy thing to do. Forgiveness frees me to be my best self. Focusing on shortcomings creates in me a smudged heart. It is like looking through the world wearing smeared glasses. Everything I see is exactly what it is supposed to be but it is not quite right. And I think we have to do the work of forgiveness too.
Story: I was counseling a young woman. She was a survivor of tremendous abuse when she was young with her father as the perpetrator. Her dream was to be a kicker in the NFL. Why did she have this dream? So that she could show the men in her family that she had worth. She moved through forgiveness and held the blame against herself. If the work of forgiving is not done, our self image becomes damaged. If the work of forgiving is not done, our image of others is distorted.
Psalm 51 is swirling in my head…”Create in me a clean heart.” Really, it is co-creating with self, other, and with the divine. Forgiveness is not work done only by the divine, but the psalmist enters into the conversation by releasing the ego.
the pain and rage
© 2010, T. Stewart