UNFORGIVENESS IS THE CAUSE
by Father Al Lauer
“Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you.” –Colossians 3:13
When I was first ordained a priest, I believed that over 50 percent of
all problems were due to unforgiveness. After ten years in ministry,
I revised my estimate and maintained 75 to 80 percent of all health,
marital, family, and financial problems came from unforgiveness. Now,
after almost twenty years in ministry, I have concluded that over 90
percent of all problems are rooted in unforgiveness.
THE NECESSITY OF FORGIVENESS
If most problems come from unforgiveness, we can understand why Jesus
emphasizes forgiveness to an extreme degree. When Peter suggested to
Jesus that we should forgive seven times, he was correct. (Mt 18:21)
Seven in the Bible stands for an indefinite number of times, so Peter
was saying we should forgive indefinitely. This is the correct answer
but not the correct emphasis. Jesus proclaims we should forgive “seventy
times seven,” indefinitely times indefinitely. (Mt 18:22) Jesus further
emphasizes forgiveness by saying God’s kingdom is a matter of forgiveness
and those who do not forgive are handed over to torturers. (Mt 18:23, 34)
And when the disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray, Jesus told
them to pray they be forgiven as they forgive. (Mt 6:12) This means prayer
will hurt rather than help us if we do not forgive. This is the only point
in the Lord’s prayer on which Jesus commented. He reiterated: “If you
forgive the faults of others, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours.
If you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive you.” (Mt
6:14-15) Jesus insists on forgiveness. We must pass on the forgiveness
He has given us by the shedding of His blood on Calvary.
THE POISON AND TORTURE OF UNFORGIVENESS
Why do we refuse to forgive? Are we punishing the other person and
protecting ourselves from further harm? Not really. Our enemies suffer
minimally from our unforgiveness compared with the damage we do to
ourselves. The verdict we pass on others is passed on us. (Mt 7:2)
Unforgiveness is a fatal poison which cuts us off from forgiveness
(Mk 11:24-25), and worship. (Mt 5:23-24)
Then, when we are separated from the graces, we are handed over to
the torturers. (Mt 18:34) These torturers are not people, but worse.
They are such experiences as fear, depression, frustration, anxiety,
self-hatred and loneliness. As these and other torturers work over
us, we deteriorate to a level of existence which is characterized by
fruitless, compulsive, escapist activities.
THE MIRACLE AND MIRAGE OF FORGIVENESS
We must forgive others and ourselves or destroy ourselves. Yet it is
humanly impossible to forgive. “To err is human, to forgive is divine.”
Only God can forgive. To forgive another is more miraculous than healing
someone in the most advanced stages of cancer. But God will do this
miracle for us.
However, many times we do not ask for the miracle of forgiveness be-
cause we are deceived by the devil into thinking we have already
forgiven another. Many people help deceive themselves by re-defining
forgiveness to be the control of hostile feelings instead of a merciful
expression of love. Forgiveness is not a feeling but a decision to let
go of hurt due to an offense and to express this by extending loving
mercy to those who have hurt us. The Lord calls us to forgive affection-
ately, generously, and mercifully, as the father of the prodigal son did.
(Lk 15:20ff) The following diagnostic questions can help us know if
we’ve deceived ourselves about forgiving others.
1) Am I conscious that God gave me the grace to forgive and that
I did not do it myself? If you are not aware that God did it,
He may not have.
2) Have I forgiven but not forgotten? If God is working, He will
give you the grace both to forgive and forget.
3) Can I picture myself embracing the other person? (see Lk 15:20)
4) Do I appreciate Confession (the Sacrament of Reconciliation) and
celebrate it frequently? If we are forgiving graciously and
lovingly, we are being forgiven in this way in the sacrament.
This would attract us to Confession.
A “No” answer to on of these questions doesn’t mean we’ve not forgiven
but it’s a bad sign.
FORGIVENESS AND MERCY
The essence of forgiveness by God’s standards is the giving of mercy.
Mercy means to treat others better than they deserve. When we extend
mercy to those who have offended us, we kiss prodigal sons, give presents
to offenders, and have special celebrations in honor of our enemies.
These people don’t deserve this, but we have mercy on them anyway. We
don’t deserve the redemptive death of God’s Son, the shedding of His
blood, and the promise of eternal happiness. But He has given them to
us anyway because of His mercy.
The Lord expects us to pass on to others the merciful forgiveness we
have received from Him. We are reluctant to do this because of the
high cost of extending mercy. Although Jesus has paid the price for
mercy by His death on Calvary, He lets us share in His sufferings.
(see Col 1:24) For example, if someone hits your car, you can have
mercy on them and pay for it yourself. That mercy may cost you $800.00.
That is some of the cheapest mercy you’ll ever give. What if your
husband told you he had committed adultery but that he would never do it
again? He wanted you to take him back and help put your marriage back
together. If you have mercy on him, you will take a tremendous emotional,
psychological, and spiritual loss. Even if you don’t have mercy, you
will suffer. But you feel like making your husband pay for his adultery
as much as possible because you don’t have to pay for it as much if you
take it out on him.
Mercy is so expensive that we don’t want to think of it. Pope John Paul
II taught: “The present day mentality, more perhaps than that of people
in the past, seems opposed to a God of mercy, and in fact tends to exclude
from life and to remove from the human heart the very idea of mercy. The
word and the concept of ‘mercy’ seems to cause uneasiness in man.” (_Rich
In Mercy_, 2) In a world of gross injustices, we feel embarrassed to talk
of mercy to victims of violence, rape, abuse, and racism. But when we
have mercy, we are not condoning sin but loving sinners. In fact, the
more we love sinners, the more we hate the sin that degrades them. We
must follow the example of Jesus, the most victimized Person Who has ever
lived. He said” “Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are
doing.” (Lk 23:34) Then He extended His mercy by promising the good thief
that he would be in paradise that very day. (Lk 23:43) Even as Jesus died,
He poured forth the abundant stream of mercy.
In the Old Testament, the gold plate over the ark of the covenant was
called the “propitiatory,” or “mercy-seat.” Here Yahweh sat in all His
mercy. The New Testament fulfillment of the mercy-seat is the tabernacle.
Come before the tabernacle, into the presence of the eucharistic Jesus.
Ask for mercy to come to you and through you. You may even put out your
hand and touch the tabernacle, the new mercy-seat. With that touch, you
can receive what the hemorrhaging woman experienced when she touched the
hem of Jesus’ robe. (see Lk 8:46) You will experience God’s power and
the miracle of mercy.
THE PRAYER OF FORGIVENESS
If we see that we have not forgiven by extending God’s mercy, we should
repent and simply ask the Lord to do the miracle of forgiveness. Our
prayerful decision to forgive and God’s grace is all that’s necessary.
Our prayer will be answered immediately.
But sometimes our prayer does not seem to work because we are only mouthing
the words and deep down don’t want to forgive. We are like the unforgiving
brother of the prodigal son (Lk 15:28) or like Jonah in his hatred of the
Ninevites. (Jon 3:10–4:1) In this case, we should back our prayer up a
step and pray not from where we should be but from where we are. Before
we pray to forgive, we should pray to be willing to forgive. Otherwise,
our hearts will contradict our words. God will give us the willingness
and then the forgiveness. We should then celebrate this forgiveness in
the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
THE EMBRACE OF FORGIVENESS
The sign of forgiveness is outstretched arms. The forgiving father threw
his arms around the neck of the prodigal son and kissed him. (Lk 15:20)
Jesus received the embrace and kiss of Judas, and forgave him. (Mk 14:45)
Finally, Jesus stretched out His arms on the cross and would have embraced
us all if we had not nailed His arms to the cross. Right now, imagine
embracing someone you need to forgive. By God’s grace and in God’s mercy,
say to this person: “I forgive you.”
Now go, embrace these people. If this is impossible, call or write them
without delay. If they are aware of problems in their relationship with
you, apologize to them and ask them to forgive you for not forgiving
them. Then give them a gift. (see Lk 15:22ff) Show the mercy of our
forgiving Father. If those you need to forgive have died or are not able
to be contacted, ask Jesus to contact them and pass on your forgiveness.
Don’t lose any time. (Mt 5:25) Receive the miracle of forgiveness now.
Printed with ecclesiastical permission, Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
Reproduced with permission.
Just wanna post a photo of Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart which was taken at the former’s Cosmopolis movie screening at Cannes Film Festival yesterday….
This was taken after the screening of the movie as Robert and Kristen shared a moment with each other….Love rules!!!!!!!!
They always say you can’t give what you do not have. Therefore in order for you to have something to offer to others you must have that “something to offer” in the first place.
What is that “something”? That “something”must be “special” or better yet “extra special” in a way to that person you consider giving it to. Another thing is it shouldn’t hurt or harm the other person. If it does then why would you let the other person down, why would you give them something you know isn’t good for them?
While serving others I found out that we only give what’s best for them. Like when I cook for my family I try to give food which could be healthy or beneficial for them. I don’t want them to get sick coz I care so much for them. That’s what I mean in giving the best we have to others… to the ones we love. We sacrifice a lot to offer only the best for them.
Giving them things that they truly need and not only things that they want coz at times there are things that they just want which could be harmful for them. Therefore the giver must know what we truly need rather than what we just want. Now it would be easier if the receiver want only things that she really needs!
In closing, just wanna say we become more fulfilled when we sacrifice ourselves to serve others. When we listen hard to what they truly need. When we give our best to others all the time and to the ones we love…. they also learn in becoming selfless as well.
Just wanna say Thank You to Robert Pattinson for loving Kristen Stewart…
Thank you as well for being such a wonderful human being… a good son, brother, friend, boyfriend, actor, singer, musician…
Thank you for despite all the success you have gained because of hardwork and dedication you have in your work …you remain humble and true…
May the good Lord bless you always and your better half Kristen Stewart…Happy birthday to you!!!!!!!!
Just thought of comparing plants to us humans in some ways that I understand…
I love plants…I love taking care of them …Even if we only have a little space in our backyard to grow plants still I manage to grow some of them in pots….and it was so fulfilling…
When I was just a kid I tried to plant an apple seed at the back of our house coz my late Father would always tell me that whatever plant or seed you place under the ground it will surely grow…but then ofcourse he also told me that plants have certain characteristics that we should consider in order for them to survive….like how it will adapt to its climate, to its soil , to the quality of the plant itself etc….
Still I was so stubborn…I believed in what he said that whatever seed or plant you put into the soil it will surely grow…So I place an apple seed on the soil and observed it for days…Then something sprouted and I told myself that it was really a young apple tree… I told all members of my family not to cut it whatever happens but my brother told me that it isn’t an apple plant…He said we can never grow apple trees in our place because of our climate…apples only grow to places with cold climate… so he cut it much to my dismay…later on I realized that he was right coz how come I’ve never seen any of our neighbors and our neighboring towns grow apples in their backyard…From then on I gave up in growing apples in our backyard….
Plants are like us humans in a way….No matter how we try to blend with our surroundings, to adapt to other cultures in order to understand other people still we go back to the basics….Maybe some can change their whole persona and embrace the changes in them yet we can’t totally erase what’s inside us ….what’s inside us is permanent…it’s solid….it’s unbreakable…even if we deny it and claim that it’s no longer in us….in my humble opinion what or who we really are will haunt us for as long as we live….
During one of our conversations my sister told me about how horses are portrayed as evil or bad in some movies which involved exorcism like in the movie The Rite (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1161864/). She said that horses are used by demons to possess a person according to some priests who have done exorcism(the act of driving out, or warding off, demons, or evil spirits, from persons, places, or things, which are believed to be possessed or infested by them, or are liable to become victims or instruments of their malice). By these observations I thought of getting more information about horses and how are they symbolized by others. According to this article (http://www.whats-your-sign.com/horse-symbol-meanings.html) horses symbolize power, grace, beauty, nobility, strength , freedom etc. A horse can serve man in war, can be a tool for mobility, productivity, agriculture, development of all kinds, the Horse is by far one of the largest contributor to the enhancement of civilization. How can we not love horses isn’t it?…. but then I read on the last part of the article the difference between a White horse and a Black horse. A Black horse is usually meant to cause mystery, death, night, secret, a messenger of esoteric knowledge…..while the White horse symbolizes light, sun,day,vitality, illumination, resurrection, a messenger of birth. Therefore we can’t totally conclude that horses are evil animals although we may say that some of them probably the Black horses have been used by demons when they want to possess their victims! Now I was looking at some photos of Kristen Stewart’s upcoming movie Snow White and The Huntsman and in some of her scenes you can see her befriending a White horse which in my opinion isn’t harmful at all coz this time the White horse agrees with Snow White the protagonist of the story I may say. Now this horse could beat the Evil Queen in the story, and it can’t be possessed by Evil coz she is siding with the Good instead!
A young friend of mine actually had told me about this movie called Twilight but I never had the interest to watch it coz I’ve stopped watching hollywood movies for a while but then one day my family were all in the living room and I was too curious to know what was on the screen and so that started it all. The charisma you have is inspiring added to that amazing chemistry you have with Robert Pattinson. At that point in time I realized why my friend admired you so much coz I began to watch all of your individual interviews and those that you have with Robert Pattinson. Now I don’t ask myself anymore why lots of people young or old like or love you coz your fans mean so much to you, coz you care about them and you try to give your best in everything you do. With that may I give you my warmest greeting of A blessed and A Happy 22nd Birthday to you Ms. Kristen Stewart! You are loved and will always be loved!
P.S. and I love your smile:)
My Mom and I always have fun together coz she’s just so cool and I love her for that:)
So, there were so many times that she had made me laugh and I guess that is the reason why it is always so nice to stay with her and enjoy her company…well I’m just cheap lol and little things mean a lot to me so I wanna share this with you…My Mom I guess who’s too old already needs to still adapt to this modern life we have as well…
So, we all know how cellphones nowadays have these kind of weird ringing tones which usually come from sounds of animals, humans, or things as glasses being broken,water being poured to a glass, the sound of bees buzzing , etc etc….So two nights ago in the middle of the night while we were sleeping Mom suddenly woke up from a sound and then she said “Sollee I can hear a cellphone maybe it’s yours answer it now coz it might be something important !”….Well blame it on modern technology lol! My Mom actually didn’t see me wake up to take a wee wee LMAO! So there you are haha I’m just cheap coz those little things mean a lot to me^^…
I just love my Mom’s attitude about life, love, and fun:)
An awesome video from a Robsten fan named Libenet…Just wanna share this with you coz the video speaks of true love between the late Paul Newman and his lovely wife Joanne Woodward as well as of the lovebirds Robert Pattinson and the beautiful Kristen Stewart:)
This afternoon I had the chance to think about the things I wanted to do in my life be it now or in the near future. I also thought of the things I’ve done in the past and what have I gained through them in a positive way. There were so many good things that had happened and at the same time there were those which haunted me coz I felt I didn’t try my best for them. I was simply a coward at times I might say or I didn’t care enough or I felt they weren’t so important coz I was too arrogant or selfish to act on them. Ofcourse to some people they’re important but bec I was too selfish, …for me they aren’t and I somehow feel guilty about them. Now I am trying to defend myself so as not to feel guilty on some aspects. Sometimes I blame no one but me but sometimes I also blame certain situations which could have change my attitude on those particular issues that I could have dealt with enough courage. However it’s time to move on coz what had happened had happened so let’s deal with it…move on… I guess I have learned a lot from those issues that have been thrown upon me…Do what you have to do which you think is right and the best way for that matter to be solved…Don’t take shit…I learned this from my fave actress Kristen Stewart…she’s young, she’s not perfect, she makes some mistakes too in her life but what I like most about her ( as witnessed from the many fans and people who’ve known her… she sticks with what she believes in and acts on them…such a courageous young woman)…I guess that’s what I don’t have at times…I knew that I’m right but I lack the courage to act on them…I worry a lot because I was too selfish…lacking passion on the things I love to do . I need to do and I should do…Yes passion and conviction…and not to forget compassion…coz if you don’t have compassion selfishness sets in and it’s for me more of a hindrance to be able to understand others and accept their situations and help them in what they need…for their own benefit!
On the other hand if you think you are still confused with a lot of things and you have your own fears in making decisions in life seek also God’s guidance and love…and as I always say He’ll provide us enough courage to fight and settle our issues in our everyday life! God bless everyone!