To forgive another is a very difficult task and because of this fact, many people choose not to forgive. Unforgiveness is death to the soul and this death is reflected in the lives of those who are unforgiving. When we are unforgiving we store up hatred and revenge and this is what makes us unhappy, depressed, filled with anxiety, full of self-hatred, loneliness, hatred and unkindness towards others, the inability to love, and finally, we are unpleasant to be around. Once we forgive we will find that this weight is lifted from us. We are able to love--we are free!
Q): How do we forgive if we are unable to forget the wrong that was committed against us?
It is nearly impossible to speak the words "I forgive" and expect all the hurt and pain to vanish. The hurt and pain will remain until you are healed. One must be very careful not to let the hurt and pain stir up feelings of unforgiveness. Instead, one should be on constant guard to pray to God every time the hurt resurfaces and beg God to heal the memory and pain. Do not become discouraged with yourself when you want to forgive but feel as if you cannot. Just the fact that you want to forgive is pleasing to God. The rest will come in time with God's help and by our constant prayers asking for the grace to forgive. Healing a memory is much like healing a wound-it takes time.
In Mt. 18:21, Jesus proclaims we should forgive "seventy times seven." Then in Mt. 18:23-34 Jesus states that God's kingdom is a matter of forgiveness and those who do not forgive are handed over to torturers. Jesus then teaches the apostles how to pray. He told them to pray that they be forgiven as they forgive (Mt 6:12). Jesus repeats: "If you forgive the faults of others, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours. If you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive you."(Mt 6:14-15) It is clear to see that Jesus insists on forgiveness.
Q): Why do we refuse to forgive?
Some people do not forgive because in their mind they believe they are getting even with the individual(s) who hurt them. By not forgiving, they feel that they are in control and now have the power to punish those who have hurt them. What they do not realize is that the unforgiving person suffers far more than the "enemy" does. If Jesus were not to forgive those who crucified him, would they have suffered from his unforgiveness? Of course not! Jesus' response to those who hurt him was: "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."
Find out below if you have forgiven those who have hurt you
1. Are you able to pray for the person(s) who hurt you?
2. Do you still feel revenge toward the person(s) who hurt you?
3. Can you see the person(s) who hurt you in Heaven with you?
4. Do you forgive yourself?
5. Will you let God forgive you?
THE FORGIVENESS PRAYER
by Fr. Robert DeGrandis
Lord Jesus Christ, I ask today to forgive everyone in my life. I know that You will give me strength to forgive and I thank You that You love me more than I love myself and want my happiness more than I desire it for myself.
Lord, I forgive my schoolteachers and instructors of the past, as well as the present. For those who punished me, humiliated me, insulted me, treated me unjustly, made fun of me, called me dumb or stupid, made me stay after school.