Friday, June 15, 2012

When Sorry Never Comes

"Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.  Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him..."  Matthew 5:23-25

This passage doesn't have anything to say about waiting for an apology before settling with your opponent or what to do if your brother doesn't accept your apology.  The truth here is that it doesn't matter what the other person does.  The only thing that matters is the disposition of your heart. 

Today is the solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.  Let us briefly consider how Jesus handled the many, many injustices in his life, as written in YES!, by Anne Kiemel:

Jesus is the greatest example of a perfect, honest, good man...who was treated unjustly every day.  He not only forgave all the religious leaders and other people for their failures...He never even expected an apology.  Jesus kept His eyes on the Father.  He, like Paul 'laid aside every weight'...pressed ahead...

Thank the Lord for bringing it (whatever or whoever has hurt you) across your path...for all it has taught you about yourself...and how you will, from now on treat others.  Ask God to help you forgive fully, and lay it aside.  Even waiting for an apology will cripple the creative flow of energy that can take you on to higher and better things."

I think we can all easily agree that it is most difficult to forgive when someone continually hurts us or when they can't (or won't) acknowledge they've hurt us.  It is easy to feel like they are tying our hands.  If only they could say, "I understand what you are saying.  I'm sorry I hurt you."  But, it isn't always that easy for a lot of different reasons - pride, differences of opinion, communication has been cut off, or time has run out and the other person has died, etc...

So, today, let us remember the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  He has suffered greater injustice than any other human being on earth.  His suffering always trumps our suffering.  That is why He is always able to console us.  He knows.  Think about how we have hurt Him in the past and present, and consider how we will continue to hurt Him in the future.  And yet, He is forgiving us the entire time, even on the Cross, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do." (Luke 23:34)

Dear Jesus, Thank you for showing us how to forgive without conditions or apologies.  Thank you for forgiving us, even from the Cross.  Please give us the grace to forgive those who have hurt and continue to hurt us, especially when "Sorry" never comes.   Help us to imitate You and lay every weight aside.  We need Your grace to do this and we ask You for it with great confidence.  Help us to forgive ourselves, as You have already forgiven us, if we are truly sorry for what we have done.  Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like your heart.  Amen.     

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