Have you ever wondered why difficult people seem to keep popping in and out of your life? I have struggled with this question for years. Why do I repeatedly have people in my life who are excitable, yell a lot, and are downright mean when "discussing" what is wrong?
I could go into a long, probably boring, post about spiritual warfare and the battle for souls, but I think the bottom line is that these people are placed in our lives
so we will learn to pray for them and to forgive from the heart. It's not easy to pray for your "enemies" and forgive wrongdoings. In fact, for most of us, the cross of forgiveness is so heavy that we can barely lift it. We stare at it, refusing to carry it, while we wallow in self-pity and replay the scene(s) over and over in our head, becoming more and more agitated and angry. How do I know this? Because I just described myself, and the struggle I had this week with forgiving a person. This is not unusual for me. This is a sin that needs to be uprooted from my soul.
I don't even remember if this happened Tuesday or Wednesday of this past week. This person was angry, which is not unusual for her. She gets angry quite frequently, and in turn pulls aside others to take that anger out on them. Mixed in with all the emotion and barbed arrows she slings is many times an element of truth. She never takes the blame for anything, but twists the story so she is completely innocent and everyone else is entirely at fault for the anger she is feeling and is expressing.
This is where my biggest forgiveness struggles lay/lie?(?) People who are manipulative, twist stories and shoot barbed arrows generally get a huge dose of contempt from "pious"little me. If the person apologizes I will accept the apology, but that does not stop me from mulling over the insults and from having a self-induced "pity party". If the person does not apologize, well, it gets even funnier (in an ironic kind of way) and the "pity party" of anger and self-righteousness is bigger than New Year's Eve at Times Square. (blushing)
I tired to pray for her this week. I tried to pray that I would forgive her this week, but all that garbage just kept getting in the way. All I could see in my mind was my anger and hurt. I could see her side and that she was scared, but I could not get beyond the fact that she took it out on me. By Saturday I was exhausted from a struggle I could not seem to win.
I knew I needed Confession, but I did not go. Luckily, I am married to the most supportive, warm-hearted guy in the world. He looked at me and said that we need to head back to the Divine Mercy Shrine. I immediately calmed down and began to think straighter. This trip is a huge sacrifice to Paul, who works the midnight shift. He won't get much sleep, and he has to go to work tonight. It's very humbling to realize that although the pilgrimage will help him also, he is truly making it on his knees. (metaphorically speaking that is.) Thanks to Paul's sacrifice, I am able to make the pilgrimage for a plenary indulgence, which believe me is greatly needed after this week's "party", attend Mass, go to Confession, pray the Chaplet and immerse in God's Mercy and forgiveness.
Please pray for me that I will extend our Lord's mercy and forgiveness to those around me.
God Bless you and may you also immerse yourself in His mercy.
“I can forgive, but I cannot forget, is only another way of saying, I will not forgive. Forgiveness ought to be like a cancelled note - torn in two, and burned up, so that it never can be shown against one.” Henry Ward Beecher
Disclaimer: I was thinking about this post and realized that I failed to include a vital piece of information, in that *no one* has the right to abuse another person...verbally, physically or otherwise. (Nor do we have the right to abuse others, no matter how angry we are over a sitation.) You have a right to your feelings of hurt, anger and fear when you have been on the receiving end of any type of abuse. My meanderings today are only to address my responsibility for my reaction to, and the need for me to practice forgiveness for conversations that I take offense to, even if they are not actually abusive.