Hello my friends, we meet again. You may have noticed I took a week off from the blog. Or maybe you didn’t, I’m still not convinced anyone reads this. In any case, my week off wasn’t by choice. Some things happened that made me a bit melancholy and I couldn’t find the words to say… well, anything. It’s a feeling that I’m am very familiar with. In my younger and childless days, these funks of mine could last months at a time. Now I have small children that require regular feeding and care and I don’t have the luxury of dwelling on my sadness and anxiety. Just another way my kids are making me a saint. For those of you who suffer from fits of the doldrums I have no advice. It sucks. But here’s an uplifting bible quote to think about!
“Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Phillipians 4:6-7
The important thing is I’m back! And I have things I want to talk about. Things like yesterday’s Gospel reading. For those of you who didn’t hear it because your children chose that exact moment to start screaming or because you (gasp!) missed mass, let me sum it up for you. Jesus tells a parable about a master who forgives a debt owed him by one of his servants. That servant turns around and strangles another servant who owes him money and has the guy thrown into debtors prison. The master finds out about this and tells the first servant that he should have shown mercy like he was shown mercy and turns the guy over to the torturers. The end.
It’s a pretty grim reading but the moral is clear. Be forgiving. Easy enough right?
Of course it’s not. We all know how to hold a grudge. Lord knows I do. When people do us wrong we like to wear it like a pair of glasses so that it colors the way we look at the world and we never want to take them off. The problem with that is that the only person we end up hurting is ourselves. When we deny our fellow man our forgiveness, the Lord denies us His.
Also, in less biblical and more practical terms, we do ourselves a disservice. What we do is take our eyes off of the grace and mercy that is our Savior, Jesus Christ, and instead dwell on the grievances and hurts we have on Earth. What do those things matter when you consider the grand scheme of our lives? We want to enter the kingdom of Heaven and all those petty annoyances and disagreements are chaining us here, to this moment and this place.
Here’s an example. I am the oldest of eight kids, my parents had me and then my mother had five kids and my father had two more. So the oldest of those siblings, let’s call her Two, was/is? my nemesis. (Side note: as Catholics are we allowed to have nemesis’?) She and I never got along and she would go out of her way to get me in trouble with my stepfather, who had a bit of a mean streak. The older we got, the more bitter it made me, and after a big fight a few years ago I cut off ties with her.
Since then, I have struggled with the idea of forgiving her. It’s not that I wish her ill or I’m praying that karma hits her in the face with a steel toed boot. I’m just having a problem letting all that nastiness go. During our last fight she said, in no uncertain terms, that she’s not sorry about anything she’s done. So what do I do? Do I hold on to my bitterness, flinch every time someone says the word “sister”, and be hyper vigilant for that kind of betrayal? I’ve tried it and honestly, it’s exhausting.
I’ve found that the better way to be is to just forget about it. Just let it go. Every time I’m reminded of her I try to replace it with a better memory. When she comes to mind, I think of something else. And, when I do sit down and turn it all over in my mind, it really is so small compared to all the love and blessings I find in my life. Mind you, this isn’t an easy thing to put into practice, but it’s better than the alternative.
So don’t let yourself be bogged down in pain and suffering because you’ve been wronged. Show them the mercy that the Lord has shown you and free yourself from that sin. It’s not for the good of the person who wronged you, it’s so that you can walk your path with a lighter load.
“Wrath and anger, these also are abominations, yet a sinner holds on to them.” Sirach 27:30