Day 2 of 3 of The Feast Alabang’s Lenten Recollection focused on FORGIVENESS.
Now, this isn’t exactly a new concept. It is, however, a very difficult one to do.
Today, Bro. Arun shared a story that I could totally relate to. It was about him being appointed leader in his ministry during his young adult years. Back then, he shared, he was so strict and on-point with all his ministry members. He was deemed as brilliant and effective. He felt like he was on top of the world. And then one day, something happened that stripped him of his title.
It was then that he posed this question to God: “Lord, who am I if I am not a leader anymore?”
The story goes on with him having a chance encounter with Bo Sanchez and being told that that wasn’t going to be his last stint as a leader. But anyway, long story short, God’s answer to his question was, “You’re not a leader anymore. Now, let Me love you as a son.” Beautiful.
The reason why I could relate to this was because my most recent encounter with forgiveness had something to do with leadership. General leadership, conflict within a group, having a title stripped off. They named it, I related to it. It’s like Bro. Arun was doing a Bo Sanchez on me by telling that story. Guh. #PayItForward much?
Anyway, that encounter was a true test of my character and resolve as a supposedly renewed daughter of God. Forgiveness and humility were things I knew I should have done, but had so much difficulty doing due to the trifecta of offenses committed against me. I found it so hard to strip myself down to sheer nothingness to ask forgiveness for something I knew wasn’t completely my fault. I found it hard to swallow being condemned for something I did not do or say. I found it difficult to accept the absence of an apology for getting my pride hurt over something I was right about in the first place.
But, alas, this all goes back to the focused gospel reading for today — the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant. I have no right to hold on to this hurt or not let go of the offense when my Father in heaven has let go of all the hurt I had caused Him and the many offenses I have done against Him. I have no right to not forgive when my Father has forgiven me on the infinite number of occasions I have wronged him. I have no right to condemn when my Father has chosen not to condemn me for all my wrongdoings.
Just so you know, I have already forgiven. It is, however, very difficult to forget (sometimes, I feel like there are still traces of it on the faces of my offenders). But I have learned from it. And today, I have resolved to completely let it go. Nailing this at the foot of Jesus’ cross and allowing Him to take it with Him to heaven.
“As fast as they offend you, let it go.” Difficult, difficult. But someday, I will learn how to do this in a snap of a finger.
“Forgiveness is as essential as breathing.”
“When you have unforgiveness in your heart, it breaks you down.”
“There has to be an expiration date to your anger.” Bro. Mike Viñas said it should be at 5:59 PM. Why? Because it says in Ephesians 4:26 — “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.”
“Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself.”
“In every relationship, you will always be called to forgive and ask for forgiveness.” There can be no truer words.
“To whom much is given, much is required.” I have been given by my Father the wisdom to know and act better. I have not been renewed for nothing, and each day is an opportunity to start anew. With this, I must learn how to forgive people who know not what they’re doing.
“That is the way of the Lord — you don’t get to select your memories.” Father John Paul Del Rosario was the one who gave a talk on COMMEMORATION. He said:
“Commemoration is an ought. Not a choice.”
“To remember is to see the creative power of God.” Remember the tragedies in your past? Have they not shaped you to be the person you are now? “We need to remember the tragedies to see the creative power of God.”
As Christians, we are “pressed to see the good in Good Friday.” Meaning, if I’m not mistaken, that the focus of Good Friday shouldn’t be the tragedy of Jesus’ dying, but the fact that He did all that to save us because He loved us.
“It’s not your wounds, it’s how I heal your wounds that can truly set you free.” Something God wants us to always remember. 🙂
Today was therapeutic. I teared up while exalting Jesus’ name through song awhile ago, as the crosses passed us in procession. At that moment, it hit me just how much He truly loved us; to give up His life for unworthy ones like us.
Lord, salamat. Please help me become more like You.