The Power of Forgiveness

… being forgiven is a spiritual reality and a mystery. When someone tells us they forgive us for something we have done, we can accept the announcement dispassionately, or with relief, or gladly, or with a number of other emotions. If the person is someone we love or respect or look up to, being told that we are forgiven can lift a burden of guilt and remorse. Being forgiven can unblock a blocked relationship, and thus reconciliation makes possible a renewal of the relationship. Being forgiven by someone else makes it easier for us to forgive ourselves for what we have done, once we realize the harm and the hurt we have caused. Being told that we are forgiven by God can make it possible for us to put the past behind us and start afresh, for if the One who knows all forgives us, what we did in the past must be forgivable.

Forgiving others entails a different but equally healing dynamic. Forgiving those who have wronged us frees us from the emotional bonds that constrict our dealings with them and others. Forgiving them enables us to let go of the pain and anguish we have suffered since being harmed. Forgiving them dissolves the anger and vengeance that we have felt toward them since being hurt. Forgiving them makes it possible to reestablish a positive relationship with them and those who love them. For no one is an isolated individual; there is always a network of kinship and friendship that is affected by our attitude and behavior toward anyone. If there is to be anything like community or fellowship, then, there must be a willingness to forgive and an ability to accept the forgiveness of others. Without both of these, there is no possibility of reconciliation.

Joseph Martos, Deconstructing Sacramental Theology and Reconstructing Catholic Ritual(Eugene, OR: Resource Publications, 2015), pp. 89-90. ISBN: 978-1-4982-2179-5.

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Article by Andrew Doohan

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