February 18, 2007 7th Sunday of Year C

1 Samuel 26:7-23
Psalm 103
Luke 6:27-38

"Love your enemies; be good to those who hate you." "Pray for those who gossip about you and treat you badly"

"Impossible" you say - and you are right! Differences, clashes etc are part of life, because each human is different, but Jesus tells us to forgive. "Impossible" you say again! We get hurt by another and so often we have a grudge or resentment against that person. We can suppress it or try to forget it, but when we are sleepless, down-hated, or stressed these hidden hurts arise to the surface. They are like a deep unknown cancer gnawing at us. Here is a practical way to deal with them. This process MUST be done within prayer (it is NOT a mere psychologicalical excercise).

  1. ask God's help, acknowledging that you are helpless by yourself,
  2. face your hurt under God's warmth,
  3. prayerfully try to get into the heart of the one who hurt you his/her upbringing, personality, stresses, way of thinking. The workings of a human heart are most complicated. Our understanding of the other is a vital step to forgiveness. We are not trying to white-wash the other, just understand him/her.
  4. prayerfully consider how God has accepted, understood and forgiven you so many times in the past-again, again & again.
  5. prayfully call to mind, imagine Jesus being nailed to the Cross. While the soldiers were hammering the nails into His hands the leaders were insulting him (we would call it "bullying"). He prayed "Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing".

If you have come to the stage where you say " I WANT to forgive him/her", you are on the way to peace. Slowly read the Gospel again, feeling helpless, and so asking for help. It will come. God is generous.

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