by Rev. Fr. V.V. Paulose, Toronto, Canada
"Don’t say, 'I’ll pay back for the wrong you did.’ Wait for the Lord, and he will make things right.” (Proverbs 20:22)
Transformation of a victim by forgiveness.
Fr. James Martin says, “Forgiveness is the hardest of all Christian acts.”
Forgiveness is the conditioned love to open the flood gates of God’s blessings. Mathew 5:24 - "Leave your gift there in front of the altar. First, go and be reconciled with your brother; then come and offer your gift.” We pray all times, knowing the meaning or not of ”Forgive our debts, as we already have forgiven our debtors.” The world is now conditioned to the tribal culture of “An eye for an eye” which seems to be more respected, effective and brave. The end result is the never ending saga of the cycle of violence and there is no peace anywhere in the world - house, church and society. We are missing the joy, peace and calmness This should be broken at the source of itself at any cost. Jesus did it on the cross. Mathew 26:28 - "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” This is always freely available for those who forgive the wrongs of others.
Chantale Ukebereyinfera is a survivor of the Rwandan genocide. In 2006, the man who had killed her father went to her and begged forgiveness. Chantale, who could barely function the severe depression and PTSD refused. "Forgiving or not forgiving him, it is all the same to me,” she told film maker, Laura Waters Hinson at the time of the documentary. “If I forgive him, I still have no peace. If I don’t forgive him, it’s the same.” 3 years later a journalist watched as Chantale sat with her father’s killer on a narrow bench in her hut. As the man talked about how grateful he was that Chantale eventually decided to forgive him, he reached over and held her hand. She didn’t flinch but instead smiled, calm, and at ease. The journalist says, "I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t witnessed it but there was no missing how the act of forgiveness had transformed Chantale.”
There is no history that retribution ever stops any wrongdoings. Do a simple prayer for forgiveness to our wrongdoers and try to reach out to them.
Jesus, let us have the spirit of forgiveness. We pray for all the victims of injustice and wrongdoings. Let all their hurts be healed by your spirit of healing. We pray for all the people like Chantale. Let the reconciliation and forgiveness be in our homes, churches and society and above all, to ourselves. All we ask in the name of Jesus. Amen.
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