Updated: Oct 15, 2020
Lord make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is Hatred let me sow Love; where there is Injury, Pardon; where there is Doubt, Faith; where there is Despair, Hope; where there is Darkness, Light. St. Francis
When I was young, I came across a bird, a small robin, that was caught in some close-meshed chicken wire. At first, I was paralyzed as to what to do watching it flapping its wings trying desperately to free itself. I was hoping it would be successful on its own, both for the bird’s sake and mine. If it got itself free, I would not have to do anything, if it failed to free itself, I was left with a decision, to help or not. It could not free itself. I chose to get involved.
Slowly and carefully I extended my hand until I could grasp the frightened bird, still its flapping wings, and unwind the wire holding its small leg captive. Once free, I placed the bird on the ground and hoped it could stand and then fly away. It could and it did!
Forgiving, or using Francis’ word pardoning, frees two people—the one forgiving and the one forgiven. In relationships we easily become tangled in close-meshed interactions that bind us and rob us of the freedom to be ourselves. We become the bird robbed of flying. Receiving pardon comes when someone else, whom we have hurt, slowly and carefully unwraps us from an ill-advised action or an angrily shared word. When they have the courage to say, “I forgive you,” “I understand”, or “it is all over now,” we become free! We can fly once again! Giving pardon or forgiveness is when we have the courage to do the same to others.
Who is it that you could free today? From whom would you like to hear the words of forgiveness today? Our God has freed us repeatedly, may we free one another over and over again. Let us fly again!
Prayer: “And forgives us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Amen
Tomorrow: Overcoming Doubt with Faith