Friday, February 17, 2012

To Forgive

First Reading
Philippians 3:13-15 Brothers and Sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.
Second Reading
A moment of true forgiveness will end a lifetime of pain. Now ask God for assistance in dealing with your past actions and reactions, and it shall be given. Ask God to hold your heart in His hand, and He shall do so. Ask angels to surround you, and know that they will. And with all their assistance and support, take an honest look at how you have reacted to your brother or sister. Ask God for forgiveness, ask your brother or sister for forgiveness, ask yourself for forgiveness, and forgiveness will surround you in its light. - James Blanchard Cisneros, You Have Chosen to Remember: A Journey From Perception to Knowledge, Peace of Mind and Joy

When Bob asked me to speak, the topic he gave was, “If I could change one thing…”
I’ve had a few weeks to think about what I would change, and for awhile it was really difficult for me to come up with something. Now, I’m not saying I’m perfect by any means, but I do try to continually learn from experiences, decisions I have made and people I have met.
Then, about a week or so again, in an almost eerie way, it hit me on what I would change. I want to be able to truly forgive. I mean truly forgive. I’m sure we’ve all had someone in our lives that has let us down – parents, siblings, friends, coworkers, roommates. People that we sincerely care about and expect to be treated the same way we treat them, with honesty, integrity, and loyalty. When those people do something that hurts us or is deceitful, it can be overwhelming and very hard to understand why they’ve done what they’ve done or made the decisions they made. BUT, in order to grow and continue to trust and move on, it is imperative to forgive, this may not mean forget, but it means to forgive with every ounce of your being and energy – every single day.
A teacher once told each of her students to bring a clear plastic bag and a sack of potatoes to school. For every person they refuse to forgive in their life's experience, they chose a potato, wrote on it the name and date, and put it in the plastic bag. Some of their bags were quite heavy. They were then told to carry this bag with them everywhere for one week, putting it beside their bed at night, on the car seat when driving, next to their desk at work. The hassle of lugging this around with them made it clear what a weight they were carrying spiritually, and how they had to pay attention to it all the time to not forget and keep leaving it in embarrassing places. Naturally, the condition of the potatoes deteriorated to a nasty smelly slime.
This was a great metaphor for the price we pay for keeping our pain and heavy negativity. Today, tomorrow and always, I will strive to forgive and I will be a better, “lighter” person because of it.

Stephanie Kloos