April 7

Those who cannot forgive others
break the bridge over which they
must pass themselves; for every
person has need to be

Thomas Fuller


Today's Meditation:

Forgiveness is not the easiest thing in the world.  Even though I know about the power and necessity of forgiveness in our lives, I still find it difficult sometimes to let go of something that another person has done to me and to move on, not letting that something bother me any longer.  What Thomas says here, though, makes me stop and think every time I read it--for if I'm going to keep doing things for which I need to be forgiven by others, who am I not to forgive others when I perceive that something wrong has been done?

How many bridges have I burned by treating another person in an unforgiving manner?  How many times has my pride or my ego or my stubbornness interfered with the very important process of forgiving another person something that he or she has done?  It definitely happens in my life, because one of the things I learned very early in life was how to hold a grudge, and it's a lesson that still hangs on despite my attempts to banish it from my life.

So how do I break free of this tendency?  I don't know.  The most important thing for me, though, is to be aware of the fact that I do, indeed, have the tendency.  Other people may do things that harm me, but if I hold on to the anger or resentment for those things, then I'm only hurting myself.  What they've done is over.  I don't have to be best friends with them or invite them to dinner or take a vacation with them--in fact, I don't even have to ever talk to them again--but I do need to forgive them if I'm to find my own peace of mind.

It almost feels like a bank account.  My forgiveness of others gives me a balance that I can rely on when I need to be forgiven by someone else.  But if I don't forgive others, I'm leaving an empty account so that when I need to call on it, there's nothing there but a bridge that's been burned and that's useless to me.

Questions to consider:

Why is it sometimes difficult to forgive others?  What happens in our own lives when we don't do so?

What strategies might you use to be able to truly forgive someone whom you're having a difficult time forgiving?

Why is it important to you to forgive others when they've wronged you?

For further thought:

Dost thou wish to receive mercy?
Show mercy to thy neighbor

St. John Chrysostom


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