Saturday, July 19, 2014

Forgiveness and Reconciliation

Many reciting the Lord's Prayer have difficulty with the phrase: " forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us." The face of the one we can't forgive often appears. These words, of the head of a research center for Scripture, begin her article in the Kyeongyang Magazine.

She recounts how she became estranged from a good friend by what was said. She is over fifty and should know better;  humanly speaking she is embarrassed but even  more so as a Christian and as a teacher of the word of God, the shame is greater.

A Catholic is  a person who lives in a fishbowl. She is conscious of feelings, which cause problems: when her friend is having difficulty, she feels bad and when  all is well with her friend, she loses some of her peace. She has to live with these dual emotions. The  relationship goes back many years and the good times were overwhelmingly greater than the bad.

She made the effort to reconcile with her friend without success. The result was that she felt worse, and brought back all the hurts she received. If she knew  this would be the result of her efforts she would never have attempted the reconciliation, and this became matter for confession.  

At this time, she read a book by a priest that helped her to see the difference between  forgiveness and regret. Forgiveness is something that has to do with herself,  her will and decision: getting rid of the    poisons of hate and anger within oneself and has nothing to do with whether the other person acknowledges it or not. I have the need to forgive.

Reconciliation requires the agreement of both parties; forgiveness does not. Isn't this the reason that Jesus wants us to forgive seventy times seven. When we have  done something against a brother or sister, we have the  duty to ask for reconciliation.

When a relationship has gone bad, it usually is the fault of both parties. I have to forgive and search for ways to reconcile. If reconciliation is not achieved that is not my problem.

Once she understood the difference between forgiveness, and reconciliation there came a great consolation. She  concludes her words with the realization that what she needed to do was to embody in her prayers the teaching of the Lord's Prayer and rid herself of the obstacles preventing her from doing so.