Category Archives: Forgiveness

Owning Forgiveness

One nun came to Blessed Sarah and said to her: Pray for me, my lady.  – The blessed one said to her: Neither will I have mercy on you nor will God unless you have mercy on yourself, fulfilling the virtues as the Fathers have commanded us.

——-Amma Sarah of the Desert

Forgiveness is the act of pardoning an offender. In the Bible, the Greek word translated “forgiveness” literally means “to let go,” as when a person does notclip_image002 demand payment for a debt. Jesus used this comparison when he taught his followers to pray: “Forgive us our sins, for we ourselves also forgive everyone who is in debt to us.” (Luke 11:4) Likewise, in his parable of the unmerciful slave, Jesus compared forgiveness with canceling a debt.—Matthew 18:23-35.

We forgive others when we let go of resentment and give up any claim to be compensated for the hurt or loss we have suffered. The Bible teaches that unselfish love is the basis for true forgiveness, since love “does not keep account of the injury.”—1 Corinthians 13:4, 5.

The ability to forgive yourself is key to your psychological well-being. Unforgiveness of self causes a wide range of problems. Suicide, addictions and depression are just a few of the many things associated with self-condemnation. Psychologists struggle to develop creative ways to address this issue. Many suffer from a lack of awareness of their problem with this issue. Behavioral professionals, religious and irreligious, know the importance of self-forgiveness. Many corporate hours are spent in seminars that stress the necessity of learning the importance of forgiveness. This endeavor is tremendously costly for the corporate world.

Amma Sara knew about such forgiveness 1500 years ago, and said it was the place to start. God is a God of forgiveness and grace, and we must forgive ourselves in order to receive forgiveness. Our problem with self-forgiveness is that we don’t really believe in grace – that marvelous property of God that allows Him to forgive us even though we are most undeserving. Amma Sarah called the forgiving of ourselves a fulfillment of the virtues that were bestowed upon us by the Creator. Forgiveness, even of our own faults, is a virtue.

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PRAYER

Lord, teach me to forgive others and to own forgiveness for myself. This ownership allows me to move forward. Lord allow me to set aside the crippling pain and shame that so possesses my life and move forward forgiving and forgiven.

AMEN


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I Can’t Remember

The late Brennen Manning shares this humorous look at forgiveness in The Ragmuffin Gospel.brennan

A few years ago, rumors spread that a certain Catholic woman was having visions of Jesus. The archbishop decided to check her out.

‘Is it true, m’am, that you have visions of Jesus?’ asked the cleric.

‘Yes,’ the woman replied.

‘Well, the next time you have a vision, I want you to ask Jesus to tell you the sins that I confessed in my last confession. Please call me if anything happens.’

Ten days later the woman notified her spiritual leader of a recent apparition.

Within the hour the archbishop arrived. ‘What did Jesus say?’ he asked.

She took his hand and gazed deep into his eyes. ‘Bishop,’ she said, ‘these are his exact words: I CAN’T REMEMBER.

We all has some difficulty imagining that god is really that way. “For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.” (Hebrews 8:12)

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A Sense of Forgiveness

One nun came to Blessed Sarah and said to her: Pray for me, my lady.  – The blessed one said to her: Neither will I have mercy on you nor will God unless you have mercy on yourself, fulfilling the virtues as the Fathers have commanded us.

——-Amma Sarah of the Desert

depressedThe ability to forgive yourself is key to your psychological well-being. Unforgiveness of self causes a wide range of problems. Suicide, addictions and depression are just a few of the many things associated with self-condemnation. Psychologists struggle to develop creative ways to address this issue. Many suffer from a lack of awareness of their problem with this issue. Behavioral professionals, religious and irreligious, know the importance of self-forgiveness. Many corporate hours are spent in seminars that stress the necessity of learning the importance of forgiveness. This endeavor is tremendously costly for the corporate world.

Amma Sara knew about such forgiveness 1500 years ago, and said it was the place to start. God is a God of forgiveness and grace, and we must forgive ourselves in order to receive forgiveness. Our problem with self-forgiveness is that we don’t really believe in grace – that marvelous property of God that allows Him to forgive us even though we are most undeserving. Amma Sarah called the forgiving of ourselves a fulfillment of the virtues that were bestowed upon us by the Creator. Forgiveness, even of our own faults, is a virtue.

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Filed under Amma Sarah of the Desert, Depression, Desert Mothers, Forgiveness

Forgiveness, Revenge and Prayer

English: Jesus Christ. A page from the "P...

Abba Nilus said, ‘ Everything you do in revenge against a brother that has harmed you will come back to your mind at the time of prayer.’

  

—-Abba Nilus of the Desert

The Christian act of forgiveness is the most difficult of all Christian charisms. Repeatedly Jesus calls for us to turn the other cheek, go the second mile, and forgive seven times seventy, and yet this is not our created nature. We are created as “get even” people. As we follow Christ we are to become a new creation and to put the old behind us. After all, that is why God send the spirit to “dwell among us.” Forgiveness is sometimes elusive, but revenge is deadly. If we exercise revenge it will block our prayers. The Abba points out the importance of refraining from revenge, even when it may be justified. We are to strive to let nothing interfere with our prayers.

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Not There Yet


A brother went to Abba Mateos and said to him, ‘How is it that the monks of Scetis did more than the scriptures required in loving their enemies more than themselves?’ Abba Mateos said to him, ’As for me I have not yet managed to love those who love me as I love myself.’

——Abba Mateos of the desert

The Christian journey is a long series of “not there yet” experiences. Too often we are prodded along by people that have very high views of their own spiritual worth. These high minded ones are often sources of discouragement to us, but we must always remember that we, and they, have not yet attained perfection. Our lives are a saga of moving toward God but always being fully aware of our sinful nature. Life is about forgiving ourselves and our neighbors as God forgives us. Somehow we must summon the level of mercy that God pours out on us, and understand that it is applicable to all. In that spirit we can love and forgive, not as inferiors or superiors to anyone, but as equals to all.

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Filed under Ascetics, Christian Journey, contemplative, Desert Fathers, Forgiveness