Lent 2019 – Day 32

By on 06/04/2019

Participating in the Forgiveness of Christ

 

Saturday 6th April

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14-15)

I was working at The Catholic Guy Lenten Mission Event session last night, and I heard some words I have heard before, but they struck me as if for the first time! Does that ever happen to you?

“Forgiveness is so powerful when it is given, and forgiveness is so powerful when it is withheld.”

Bruce explained, ‘holding on to issues or “unforgiveness” can make us all bent and deformed on the inside but forgiveness allows us to let go and experience true freedom.’

But let’s face it. Forgiving real hurt is more difficult than fasting, doing other penances or going to Church and saying our prayers.

Forgiveness is central to Christianity. Everything we do is tied back to our need for mercy from God and that forgiveness is freely available to us from God through His Son Jesus Christ. That is what we’re journeying towards in Lent.

However, if we are moving towards that forgiveness and carrying unforgiveness with us…WATCH OUT!

Why? Because the bottom line is this: you can’t ask God to forgive your sins if you aren’t willing to forgive the sins of others.

Forgiveness is an overriding Lenten theme. It invites us to reflect on our own willingness to forgive people who have wronged us, intentionally or unintentionally.

There’s an old saying that says: “forgive and forget.” But sometimes we can’t forgive wrongs done to us unless we remember; for example, a once happy relationship, then a wrong is done, and finally, a shattered relationship. At times, we have to forgive ourselves as well as others so that we can move forward with life.

When Jesus tells us to love others, he also gives us the grace to love and to forgive. To forgive as Christ forgives is sometimes impossible to do on our own. But Christ doesn’t ask us to forgive on our own. He simply asks that we participate in his gift of forgiveness.

God has already forgiven those who are truly sorry — and all he asks us to do is to participate in his forgiveness. Forgiveness is possible when we trust in God to bring healing, forgiveness and reconciliation to our broken relationships.

Forgiveness can be a long journey, but at the end lies freedom and new life.

What do you think God wants you to focus on for the remainder of Lent?

PRAYER: Lord, here I am. This is me in all my imperfections and I need you today. During this Lenten season help us to forgive others and forgive ourselves. We need your grace to be able to participate in your gift of forgiveness to become fully alive and all that we were created to be. Amen.

Written by
Sandra Purcell: Responsible for assisting Bruce with his Ministry as well as research and resource development.


10 comments on “Lent 2019 – Day 32

  1. Eternal Rest for Detective Ben Campbell-
    Please pray for eternal rest for the soul of Detective Benjamin Campbell. He was only 32 when he died.He tried trying to help someone in need. It was a freak accident.
    Pray for God’s blessing for his wife, young son, and family.

  2. Bruce, I love your Lenten reflections, and especially the prayers at the end of each one, they have helped me learn a different and wonderfully new way to pray!
    I have changed only one small thing in my prayers, and that is I begin with “Lord, here am I”, instead of “here I am”, only because God has called His name “I am, who am”!

  3. I agree, ‘Forgiveness can be a long journey’. It also can be a painful one. I’m not sure it’s helpful to think, “Unless I can forgive X for what he did to me, God won’t forgive me”. Forgiveness is a grace and some people have been so badly harmed or damaged by another that it might take a while for them to even consider forgiving let alone being able to do it freely. Also, forgiving someone who is harmful towards you while making sure to protect yourself from them, can be complicated. There are all sorts of questions to be considered – not to mention painful feelings such as hurt and fear to be managed. I believe it is possible, through the Grace of God – but we need to be understanding if we, or others, struggle to forgive. God knows what is in our hearts and I believe, if we just allow ourselves to open up to his healing, in time there will be forgiveness. In the meantime, my belief is that God will still forgive us our sins even if we are not at a place to be able to forgive another. We need to be careful how we discuss forgiveness and think about the vulnerability of those who have been harmed by others and are still at risk of harm.

  4. Concentrating on the words of the Lord’s Prayer – “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” says it all. Every time we pray that prayer we are asking God to forgive us / not forgive us according to how we forgive / not forgive others. God alone can help us forgive others and ourselves.

  5. Lord, I pray for the grace to be able to always forgive whoever that has hurt me in the past, or will ever hurt me in the future in Jesus’ name. Amen! Thank you Sandra.

  6. This is very good message but as mentioned by some of the brothers and sisters it’s the most difficult thing especially to forgive someone who caused harm. It needs time and prayers. Let’s all pray for one another to be able to fully forgive those who have trespassed is so that our Lord will also forgive us! Amen

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