Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Healing Power of Forgiveness

Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said,
"Why do you harbor evil thoughts?
Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,'
or to say, 'Rise and walk'?
But that you may know that the Son of Man
has authority on earth to forgive sins."
Matthew 9:4-6

The vote would be to say your sins are forgiven. But with great faith, we could get up and walk. Which Jesus did for the paralytic.

Those who brought this man to Jesus, wanted to have him physically healed. What they did for him, showed Jesus the faith they had in him to take care of one of their family members. Since Jesus knows our hearts, he also knew the paralytics, he forgave him first. Which enabled him to receive the gift of physical healing.

What is it in our lives that holds back forgiveness and healing. What keeps us away from God? Is it pride? Is it the practice of evil? Is it in breaking a commandment? Is it the abuse of power? Or is it that you just don't really believe? There could be more but I will stop at these, only you know.

Jesus teaches us about forgiveness, because he knows we sometimes do not forgive. You hear about families, that stop speaking with each other. It usually is one or two members of the family that it happens to. There are many out there who go their whole life without forgiving each other, and go to their death with this with them. And all too often they seek physical healing while alive, yet will not forgive and reconcile with those they are separated from. Then how do we expect to reconcile with God if we cannot do so in our own lives. Love of neighbor does not hold grudges, it enables forgiveness. Don't wait until your last breath to say your sorry to someone you have not spoken with all your life. It is the healing that will mend your soul. Until then you will remain paralyzed, until you bring forgiveness into your life.


Paul Anthony Melanson said...

In the Lord's Prayer, we say, "And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us." As the Catechism makes clear, "This petition is astonishing....for the two parts are joined by the single word 'as'" (CCC, 2838). In other words, upon serious reflection, we realize that Jesus is commanding us to pray for our own damnation if we do not forgive all the sins of all who sin against us.

And I do mean all sins: "There is no limit or measure to this essentially divine forgiveness [cf. Mt 18:21-22; Lk 17:3-4]" (CCC, 2845).

Nowhere in Scripture does Jesus emphasize a point more dramatically. In fact, as the Catechism points out, "This petition is so important that it is the only one to which the Lord returns and which he develops explicitly in the Sermon on the Mount" (CCC, 2841).

The reason for Jesus' insistence on forgiveness is that "this outpouring of mercy" (God's forgiveness) "cannot penetrate our hearts as long as we have not forgiven those who have trespassed against us...In refusing to forgive our brothers and sisters, our hearts are closed and their hardness makes them impervious to the Father's merciful love" (CCC, 2840).

To put it simply, Jesus guarantees us that if we do not forgive our neighbors, we cannot achieve Heaven.

Forgiveness is not a feeling but rather a choice: "It is not in our powernot to feel or to forget an offense; but the heart...turns...the hurt into intercession" (CCC, 2843). To forgive is to will good to those who do not deserve it, as God does to us.

Even before we repent, God forgives us. Forgiveness "takes" only when its recipient accepts it, that is, confesses the wrong and repents of it. We are called to do the same. Our Lord has told us, freely have you been given, now go and freely give." This applies not only to the Gospel handed freely to His Apostles, but to every dimension of the spiritual life. And this includes forgiveness.

When we forgive another, this doesn't mean we have to "break bread" with that person or develop a personal friendship with that person. After all, some people are simply impossible to get along with and would only be a detriment to one's spiritual life, dragging one down as it were.

St. John explains in his letters that we know we love our neighbor when we keep the Commandments. Because for every negative side to God's Commandments, there is the positive aspect. For example, the Commandment "Thou shalt not steal" means that we respect our neighbor's goods etc.

Marie Cecile said...

Dear Paul,

Thank you for your insight on forgiveness. It always comes at a time when reflection is needed to bring back focus upon what is needed and not needed. Dear Friend, your timing is absolutely wonderful.

God Love You,
Marie Cecile