Spiritual Practice


Kristin Shaffer

I don’t claim to be an expert on emotional pain, but I do understand what it’s like to be hurt by someone you love. And I’m not entirely clear about how to recover from an emotional injury; the process for me is largely trial-and-error. I do know that forgiveness is one of the remedies for emotional wounds. And although Jesus told his disciples to forgive “seventy-seven times,” I still struggle to forgive others. But two things I have learned are making it easier.

First, forgiving is not forgetting. The phrase forgive and forget comes easily to the lips but not to the soul. Forgiveness keeps us from holding grudges and turning bitter, but it doesn’t require us to forget. We can’t make memories go away.

Second, saying “I forgive you” is not the same as saying, “What you did to me is OK.” Forgiveness does not mean ignoring the hurt. It means, “Although you’ve hurt me, I still love you.”

“How many times should I forgive someone who does something wrong to me? Is seven times enough?” Jesus answered: Not just seven times, but seventy-seven times!
Matthew 18:21b-22 (CEV)

When someone wounds us, forgiving means that we don’t lost precious time with the people we love by resenting them. We are free to forgive and to be reconciled with one another.


PRAYER: God of mercy, heal our wounds by teaching us to forgive. Amen.

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