“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”… The Lord’s Prayer
Lent is a time of forgiveness, a time to cleanse our souls of personal sin, but also a time to forgive others who have sinned against us. As we prayerfully examine the depths of our hearts, we allow the Lord to free us from the chains of guilt and sin (both our own and others) that hold us back from experiencing the glory He has planned for us. Every time we pray the Our Father, we ask for forgiveness, but also declare that we will forgive others… “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” In order for us to be fully forgiven, we must also be willing to forgive, to love others as Jesus loves us.
In our Mom’s Group meeting this last week, Claire Frazier-Yzaguirre, MFT and author of Thriving Families, spoke to us about “The Power of Forgiveness and Reconciliation”. She opened her discussion by calling each of us to “live at the intersection of mercy and justice.” She explained that forgiveness is not condoning or excusing bad behavior but rather recognizing the truth and speaking the truth in a merciful and loving way. Forgiveness calls us to see others as Jesus sees them, with compassion, not condemnation; to declare “I love you more than what you did!” God longs for us to live in unity and peace. He calls us to stop judging and start restoring dignity. She said that God wants each of us to go through a “grudge detox”, showing compassionate acceptance and searching for healthy solutions instead of judgment.
Our speaker also reminded of the passage in the Bible of the women caught in adultery (click here to read John 8:1-11). The part of this passage that we most often remember is the line “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” This is a powerful line and one that bears repeating over and over every day, but the part that Claire called us to focus on was the final line of the passage where Jesus says to her “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.” Jesus meets the adulterous woman at the intersection of mercy and justice. He does not condemn her nor does he allow others to condemn her, but he also does not condone her behavior. He forgives her and loves her, but closes by telling her to “sin no more”.
In forgiveness, we are also often called to put on the shoes of the other person and walk in them for bit. As we seek to understand where the other person is coming from, it may give us more clarity as to what was going on in their life at the moment they hurt us. It can help with to be less judgmental and more compassionate. A quote that really struck me was “hurt people, hurt people.” In other words, people who have tremendous hurt in their own lives, often turn their pain into hurtful actions towards others. They are like a wounded animal, lashing out aggressively at anything that comes near them. As we seek to understand their behavior (not condone it by any means!), we can more clearly and openly discuss solutions in a loving, merciful manner.
Anger, grudges, and judging create hearts of stone within us. During Lent especially, let us remember that Jesus died on the cross to take ALL of these things away from us. Allow Jesus today to melt our hearts of stone, giving us the grace to love others as He loves us all!
For meditation: Say the Our Father slowly and meditatively, letting the words fully cover your being. Focus on the words “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Pray over the areas of your life where you need forgiveness. Then also pray over the areas of your life where you need to forgive. See your “trespassers” as Jesus sees them. Walk in their shoes. Think of ways that you can speak truth mercifully into these hurtful relationships. During these last couple of weeks of Lent, seek both to forgive and be forgiven.
Written by Amy Connelly for the OLQA Mom’s Group
Please visit often as new meditations are posted weekly.