One of the greatest challenges of the spiritual life is to receive God’s forgiveness. There is something in us humans that keeps us clinging to our sins and preventing us from letting God erase our past and offer us completely new beginnings. Sometimes it even seem as though we want to prove to God that our darkness is too great to overcome.
There are two sides to forgiveness: giving and receiving. Although at first sight giving seems to be harder, it often appears that we are not able to offer forgiveness to others because we have not been able fully to receive it. Only as people who have accepted forgiveness can we find the inner freedom to give it. Why is receiving forgiveness so difficult? It is very hard to say, “Without your forgiveness I am still bound to what happened between us. Only you can set me free.” That requires not only a confession that we have hurt somebody but also the humility to acknowledge our dependency on others. Only when we can receive forgiveness can we give it. HENRI NOUWEN
“Should a man nourish anger against his fellows and expect healing from the LORD?
Should a man refuse mercy to his fellows, yet seek pardon for his own sins?
If he who is but flesh cherishes wrath, who will forgive his sins?
Remember your last days, set enmity aside; remember death and decay, and cease from sin. ” Sirach 28:3-6
One of the hardest things in life is to let go of old hurts. We often say, or at least think: “What you did to me and my family, my ancestors, or my friends I cannot forget or forgive. … One day you will have to pay for it.” Sometimes our memories are decades, even centuries old, and keep asking for revenge.
Yes, we can get attached to these negative identities and even take morbid pleasure in them. It might be good to have a look at these dark feelings and explore where they come from. Henri Nouwen Continue reading NEED FOR FORGIVENESS