Saturday, March 07, 2015

Obstacles to forgiving

Something to meditate on this Lent:
One of the biggest obstacles to forgiving is the feeling that the other party's behavior has deprived us of something important, even vital. This confused feeling nourishes resentment. The thing in question may be material, or affective or moral (not getting the love I had a right to, or the esteem, etc.), or even spiritual (the behavior of the person at the head of my community keeps my spiritual life from developing as it should...).
To live at peace, even when it is the people around us who are causing us suffering, we must take a fresh, radical look at our frustration. It does not correspond to reality. Other people's faults do not deprive us of anything. We have no valid reason for resenting them or their actions. 
On the material plane, of course, other people can deprive us of things. But not of what is essential, the only true and lasting good: God's love for us and the love we can have for him, with the inner growth it produces. Nobody can prevent us from believing in God, hoping in him, and loving him, everywhere and in all circumstances. Faith, hope, and love make human beings fully human. All else is secondary and relative; even if we are deprived of it, that is not an absolute evil. There is something indestructible that is guaranteed by God's faithfulness and love.... 
Rather than wasting time and energy blaming others for what isn't working out, or reproaching them for what we think they are depriving us of, we should strive to acquire spiritual autonomy by deepening our relationship with God, the one unfailing source of all good, and growing in faith, hope, and disinterested love. That others are sinners cannot prevent us from becoming saints. Nobody really deprives us of anything. At the end of our lives, when we come face to face with God, it would be childish to blame others for our lack of spiritual progress.

-- Fr. Jacques Philippe, Interior Freedom  (H/t Clayton from MN, on FB) 

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