|Posted on June 11, 2018 at 8:45 AM|
I am challenged when it comes to asking for forgiveness. It’s hard for me to admit my failings. As an imperfect human, I have a tendency to believe that I am right – even when I am not. And it’s also true that I often don’t even recognize that I have sinned. If I don’t think I have erred, why do I need forgiveness? But even if I know I need to ask for forgiveness, that doesn’t mean I find it EASY… it can be embarrassing to ask for forgiveness!
Alexander Pope once said “to err is human, and to forgive divine.” How true - we all make mistakes, and it seems only God truly forgives. Fortunately, most of our mistakes are minor, and don’t make huge differences in our own lives or the lives of others. If I make a right turn at a red light when that turn is prohibited, that is a violation of a traffic law, but it probably didn’t harm anyone.
But some mistakes have dire consequences… seriously impacting someone or something. If I were to get mad at someone and stab them, that would be very serious. The other person could be seriously hurt, and I could end up in jail. Even if I felt I was justified in my actions, my act would be a sinful one, and one that requires me to ask for forgiveness.
But that task is hard. I don’t like telling another human being that I am wrong and I am sorry. And it is even harder for me to ask forgiveness of God. After all, God is all-powerful and perfect. God cannot make mistakes – He cannot sin. Yes, I know I am imperfect and am constantly sinning, but it’s still hard to admit.
What we sometimes fail to remember is that God KNOWS we are human. He knows we make mistakes and sin. And He provided a sacrament for us to use where we can ask forgiveness – Reconciliation. This sacrament is an amazing gift! God freely forgives us, no matter what we have done. Our slate is wiped clean in His eyes and we become free – and He actually loves us MORE when we ask for forgiveness!
Lewis B. Smedes said “Forgiveness is to set a prisoner free, and to discover that prisoner was you.” I become a prisoner when I fail to admit my failures and ask for forgiveness – I lock myself into a cell of hardness and stubbornness. Going to God with my sinful heart open and my errors fully exposed is like giving God the key to my cell… He can then open up my hardened heart and soften it with his forgiving embrace.
Are you are struggling with the need to ask forgiveness? Perhaps you said something that hurt another, even if you didn’t intend it to hurt. Maybe your actions caused trouble for someone. One thing that has worked for me is doing a regular review of my actions and how they may have affected others. Ideally, I do this review every evening while the day’s activities are fresh in my mind, but even if I forget and only do this review weekly, it is still a good thing. I must be honest with myself, admit my failures, and ask for forgiveness.
Is there something that is preventing you from admitting your failures? What is holding you back from receiving Jesus’ forgiving embrace? I encourage you to take some time today to think about where you have made mistakes and ask for forgiveness. Jesus’ blessed forgiveness is waiting for you.
Have a blessed Monday!
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