Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
March 6th, 2009

Joan Lanahan

SPAHP, Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

Friday of the First Week of Lent
Ezekiel 18:21-28
Psalm 130:1-8
Matthew 5:20-26

                                        FORGIVENESS IS A GIFT FROM GOD

Forgiveness is a gift from God.
It is easy to get angry, to let hurtful words fly or commit hurtful actions.  Then we are caught in a web.

The psalmist speaks of God:
"You do forgive us and for that we revere you
...for it is with Yahweh that mercy is to be found"

God, who loves us unconditionally, can easily forgive us.   We, though made in God's image, have a hard time forgiving one another.  It is really God's grace in us that enables us to forgive.
We have heard of huge forgivings.  Remember South Africa's Forgiveness and Reconcilation work after the end of aparteid?

Immaculee Ilibegiza of Rwanda tells a powerful story of horror and forgivenes in "Left to Tell".  Tutsi-s had murdered her parents and brother and thousands of others in 1994.  For 91 days she and 7 other Rwandan women hid in a sheltered bathroom of a Hutu Pastor.  She could hear the murderers of her family searching the Pastor's house looking for her and others.  She felt deep anger and hatred in her heart.  She prayed for hours.  In the darkness, she dug deeply into God within her and found the compassion to forgive them.  It is fitting that she now travels the world telling her story of anger turned to forgiveness through God's love.

Us, and myself, with whom are we, am I angry?  Do we want to forgive?  Or, do we have a need to hold a grudge?  Do we "want to be right or be happy"?  To be happy, I am learning, one has to let go of old angers and forgive.

Forgiveness happens in layers, especially when it is a huge or deep hurt.  We can forgive him, or her, or them and years later a triggering event happens and the old wound resurfaces.  Again, we pray to forgive, and it happens---until the next similar hurt.

Our hurts remind us that we are fragile human beings.  We need God's love in our hearts that creates an openness to see and say "I am/was wrong".  We need God's love to open us to forgiving and being forgiven.

Is it time to forgive or to ask for forgiveness?  This is Lent.  It is a good time.

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