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; where there is Sadness, Joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be Consoled, as to Console; not so much to be Understood as to Understand; to be Loved as to Love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. St. Francis
“And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
We don’t forgive or pardon so that we will in turn be forgiven or pardoned, we share forgiveness as part of our loving response to a generous God who has first forgiven us. This can be so hard to remember and keep straight!
In our cause and effect world, our “I’ll scratch your back if your scratch mine” relationship with each other, it always seems like we must do something so that we can get something.
Well with God it is different. In God’s world we “get” first then we are empowered to “do”! Romans 5:8 reminds us “but God showed his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ dies for us.” We have received this “love inheritance” from God—this forgiveness inheritance—and we get to spend it on each other. And the more we live into spending forgiveness on others, the more we live in the freeing light of our own forgiveness. “It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.”
Beginning with yourself run through a checklist of where forgiveness or pardoning might be needed and welcomed today. What kind gentle words do you need to hear? Speak them to yourself, then to significant people around you, and finally to the world in which you live. Galatians 6:7 reminds us, God is not fooled or mocked and “you [we] reap what we sow.” Live in life-giving forgiveness.
Prayer: Empower me to forgive as you have forgiven me. Amen.
Tomorrow: Dying to Live