Have you ever said the words: “I will never forgive you for what you have done to me”? Maybe not, or maybe not often, I hope. But these are common words spoken in anger after an experience of deep disappointment, rejection, violation, manipulation or abuse. We express ourselves in anger because our hearts are wounded by such an experience.
We have to pray to God and ask him to give us the grace to forgive whoever has wronged us. Forgiveness is not ours to give”
The pain that we feel when someone has hurt us, for example, can be so intense, and our immediate reaction is then to direct our anger towards that person in order for him or her to feel the same pain in return.
Immediately we want to react, for example by sending hurtful messages via e-mail, BBM, SMS, Facebook or Twitter. We want to contact their friends and family and share what they have done and how bad they are. We want to take revenge.
Because it is our hearts that are wounded, it makes forgiveness from the heart very difficult and sometimes forgiveness seems impossible. And forgiveness is impossible if we think that we are doing the forgiving.
It is God who forgives the person through us. None of us have a supply of forgiveness stacked up somewhere among our possessions which we can take out and give to other people as needed. We have to pray to God and ask him to give us the grace to forgive whoever has wronged us. Forgiveness is not ours to give.
Unfortunately, the tragedy of our lives is that those who love us, wound us too. These are mostly people very close to us: our parents, our friends, our spouses, our lovers, our children, our neighbours, our teachers, our pastors.
The person whom we expected would be there for us might have wounded us, thereby breaking the bond of communion that existed between us.
We live in community, even between two people, and that community has been broken. This community will never be possible again without the willingness to forgive one another “seventy-seven times”. This means, forgiving until the matter is settled.
What can help us during our experience of woundedness is the fact that we see our friends and family as just that, friends and family—and not God.
We love God, we try to understand God, we know about God, we spend time with God in prayer, but, we are not God.