No one is perfect. When we make mistakes, and we are sorry for them, we need to know that we are loved and forgiven. This gives us the strength to start again. When we hurt another, we reject God’s infinite love and not only injure our relationship with others, but we damage our connection with God.
Hurting others actually places a burden on us that weighs us down. No wonder we feel so much lighter when we say sorry and the person we have hurt, forgives us. Next, we must take steps to make sure it will not happen again.
We should never fear asking someone for forgiveness or feel an offence is too great to forgive. Even if the person takes a long time to forgive us, at least we are on the path to healing.
With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption
On the flip side, when someone has hurt us and is sorry for what they have done, the same loving behaviour is expected from us. This can be hard to do, especially if the hurt lies deep and is ongoing. Yet, how often have we admired people who are able to forgive the unforgivable? Still, we continue to delight in harbouring small offences not realising how this behaviour affects our wellbeing.
Lent offers us an opportune time to seek reconciliation with God and others. Trying these suggestions may be useful:
- Practise self-awareness. Be cognisant of what you say and what you do. This trait will prevent you from inadvertently hurting another.
- Examine your daily conscience. Use the Ten Commandments as your guide.
- Resolve to say sorry as soon as possible. Prolonging the issue makes it harder to do and it might never happen.
- Be honest when seeking forgiveness and resolve to do better.
- Let someone know when they have hurt you. They might be totally unaware.
- Most importantly, no one is perfect, so forgive yourself when you come up short.
Asking for forgiveness and receiving pardon is liberating because ‘with the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption’. (Psalm 130).
During this Lenten period, let us turn back to God and say sorry for our shortcomings. Let us seek reconciliation with the Creator and those we have hurt because God’s mercy and forgiveness are considerably greater than any offence we can commit.