Lord, Help Me to Forgive



“Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”  Buddha

“Holding a grudge is letting someone live rent free in your head.”  Anonymous

“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”  Mark Twain

There is a story of two holocaust survivors who meet when they are in the late eighties, and they are discussing their time together in a German concentration camp.

“I am still angry after all these years.  I can NEVER forgive what they did to me,” say the first survivor.  “What about you?”

“Oh, I have long forgiven them,” said the second in reply.

Shocked, the first man asked in an angry voice, “How could you forgive what they did?  I will NEVER forgive them!”

“Then, you are still their prisoner,” he humbly answered.

I meet people every day, who are holding to anger and resentment about things that have happened in their lives years ago, incidents that they just can’t get passed.

Being lied to, cheated on, abandoned, or divorced by a spouse, family member, friend, or co-worker can have a lasting effect our inner-peace.

Over and over, they play back the incident, and the hurt, the anger and the resentment.  You can tell that it is eating away at them.

What they don’t understand is that Anger is a banquet, and you are the entrée.

The person that hurt you isn’t losing any sleep or giving it any thought.  As a matter of fact, they probably don’t think about it at all!  But it is eating you!

The only road to peace is forgiveness. We must forgive them, and put the incident behind us, for our own peace of mind.  Like the holocaust survivor in the story, by not forgiving, he is still, after all these years, held captive.

“Forgiveness is the restoration of freedom to oneself.  It is the key held in our own hand to our prison cell.” John Paul II

But what if the person who hurt me isn’t sorry?  Most of the time they aren’t.  Remember, for-giveness is before-giveness, we need to pardon before we are asked or even if we are never asked.

Do you remember the old saying, “To err is human, to forgive divine.”   It’s true.  We as humans make terrible mistakes, decisions, and do hurtful things to each other, especially to the people we love.  But to forgive is divine, and we are NOT divine.  Only God has the divine power to forgive, and we can only make the decision to accept God’s grace to forgive.

Over the past few years, I have shared “The Forgiveness Prayer” with prisoners in the jail, with friends and family members who are having problems with forgiveness and it has helped many.  The prayer is from a book by Betty Tapscott  and Father Robert DeGrandis S.S.J. Forgiveness & Inner Healing.  You can read the prayer here.

Why not give forgiveness a try?  What have you got to lose?  Let’s decide to accept God’s grace to forgive those who have hurt us in the past.  Then, thank Jesus for the miracle of forgiveness.

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