“Everyone thinks forgiveness is a lovely idea until they have something to forgive.” (C.S. Lewis)
Louis Smedes, author of several books on forgiveness, notes that we do not forgive simply because we are supposed to forgive. We forgive because we need to be healed. There are three stages of forgiveness. I don’t deny what the person did; I do pretend it wasn’t wrong. But…
- Instead of identifying the person totally with whatever they did to hurt me, I see them as a person like me – imperfect, but still someone God loves.
- I give up my “right” to get even. Vengeful thoughts don’t make the other person suffer. They hurt me. So, I just rinse those thoughts from my mind.
- I stand next to the Lord and together with him look at the other person. For sure Jesus wants good things to happen to them. I begin to see them as the Lord sees them.
“Seek good and not evil so that you may live, and the Lord will be with you.” (Amos 5:14, from the Verse Before the Gospel at today’s Lenten Mass) St. John Berchmans, pray for us. St. Ignatius Loyola, pray for us.
“To love our neighbor in all its fullness simply means being able to say, ‘What are you going through?’”
“Human beings are so made that the ones who do the crushing feel nothing; it is the person crushed who feels what is happening. Unless one has placed oneself on the side of the oppressed (the crushed), to feel with them, one cannot understand.”
Simon Weil (1909-1943) is one of the most important figures of twentieth-century religious thought. Identifying herself with her French compatriots under German occupation, Weil refused to eat more than the official ration of occupied France. Malnutrition and overwork led to her death.