I truly believe in the power of hope.
Forgiveness is an act of hope because what we hope for, with faith, God will grant. Hope never disappoints.
Furthermore, when we forgive someone, we set that person free of revenge or judgment. But it's not only the other person we set free; it's also ourselves. Every time that I forgive somebody, I set myself free.
What happens when we don't forgive? If someone did something wrong to me ten years ago, and I still don't want to forgive them ten years later, it means I am held prisoner by my past. It is as though a chain is holding me ten years in the past. I am not free to receive the graces of today....
We are not free in regards to the past when we have not forgiven. We can't receive the graces of the present moment, all the blessings God wants to give us. We can't receive them because we are attached to our past by this refusal of forgiveness.
What does it mean not to forgive? It means that rm holding a grudge, a judgment, sometimes a hatred in my heart. And this poisons my heart. My heart is not pure; it is not free. It's as if am carrying poison in myself. This does harm to me for many reasons. Again, it keeps me in a condition of dependence...
On the contrary, when I forgive, I am free. I am no longer in this state of dependence. I can be completely myself, and I can allow the grace of God to dwell in me. I can allow positive thoughts and hopes instead of stirring up a poison in myself. Forgiveness sets me free. Be encouraged to ask for the grace of forgiveness and practice it.
Father Jacques Philippe. "Forgiveness." from Real Mercy: Mary, Forgiveness, and Trust. (New York, NY: Scepter Press 2016).
Reprinted with permission of Scepter Press.
Father Jacques Philippe is a spiritual director, retreat master and the founder of the Community of the Beatitudes. He is the author of The Eight Doors of the Kingdom: Meditations on the Beatitudes, Called to Life, Real Mercy: Mary, Forgiveness and Trust, Searching for and Maintaining Peace: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart, Interior Freedom, Fire & Light, Time for God, Thirsting for Prayer, and In the School of the Holy Spirit. His website can be found here.Copyright © 2016 Scepter Press
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