Transcending Forgiveness

Pope Francis made a speech on “forgiveness” sometime in December, 2020. Append below is the content of his speech followed by a commentary.

The desire to forgive is a fundamental feature of our being in seeking reparation once trust is broken. What exactly are we hoping to repair? Guilt.

Guilt is not something that can be fixed as easily as replacing a flat tyre with a spare of a car. Shakespeare scripted in MacBeth to illustrate life is never a one sided affair when guilt plays in the shadow for which without forgiveness dismisses life as short, and unrewarding.

“Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” – W. Shakespeare

Guilt has the characteristic property of being obscure emerging from secretly breaking our faith in God. In all practices of goodness, forgiveness is believed to reveal guilt from the shadow, and restore life’s aspect to its meaning.

Family, Place of Forgiveness by Pope Francisco

  1. There is no perfect family.
  1. We do not have perfect parents, you are not perfect yourself. We do not marry a perfect person or we do not have perfect children.
  1. We have complaints from each other. We can not live together without offending one another.
  1. We are constantly disappointed. Yes, for so many reasons at different times we are disappointed by one another.
  1. There is no healthy marriage or healthy family without the exercise of forgiveness. Forgiveness is the medicine of family joy, and happiness.
  1. Forgiveness is vital to our emotional health and spiritual survival. No matter the offence, or who is the offender. Without forgiveness, the family becomes an arena of conflict, and a fortress of evil.
  1. Without forgiveness, the family becomes sick, and unhealthy.
  1. Forgiveness is the asepsis of the soul, the purification of the spirit and the liberation of the heart. No sin is too big to be forgiven. He who does not forgive does not have peace in his soul  and can not have communion with God.
  1. Unforgiving is Evil and a poison that intoxicates and kills the one who refuses to forgive.
  1. Keeping the heartache of unforgiving in your heart is a self-destructive gesture. It’s autophagy.
  1. Those who do not forgive are physically, emotionally and spiritually ill. And they will suffer in two ways.

For this reason, the family must be a place of life and not a place of death; a place of forgiveness, a place of paradise and not a place of hell; A healing territory and not a disease; an internship of forgiveness and not guilt. Forgiveness brings joy where sorrow has brought sadness; of healing where sorrow has caused disease.

A family is a place of support and not of gossip and slander of one another. It must be a place of welcome not a place of rejection. Shame to those who plant evil about others. We are family and not enemies.

When anyone is going through a challenge all they need is support.

Commentary

The Pope appeals to exercise our God given wisdom not to judge our offender that caused our pain, and expect no favors from the offender to undo the hurt. In resentment is the absence of broader thinking, and understanding that would invalidate the belief in God as the omniscient, and architect of our lives.

“But should you look upon your fellow man and see a blemish, it is your own imperfection that your are encountering – you are being shown what it is that you must correct within yourself” – Baal Shem Tov

Sin is personal. It’s meant to be managed by one who owns it. The crucifixion of Jesus draws two essential acts of true intentions. First is the mortal suffering that witnessed a broken man struggling to carry his cross. Christians interpret this as a self sacrifice of unconditional compassion to annul sins of the many who ridiculed him, even Judas the betrayer. The act of suffering is a demonstration of compassion giving a second chance for the blind to see the error of their ways. Second is the refusal that witnessed Jesus decline Joseph of Arithmathea who wanted to help carry his cross. Here, Jesus clearly stood by his principle playing the hand of God in revealing his faith that cannot be exchanged in favor of a broken man. Hence forth, the crucifixion of Jesus witnessed a transition taking the form of a man to eternal spirit.

“Carry your own cross” is an aphorism spoken as a barometer to measure our hypocrisy in managing our ignorance. Pledging God as a proponent to our life’s equation is like tying God to us, and offender with a rope. The association with our offender is not a coincidence. It’s an arrangement. If God is believed to be our life orchestrator, then having resentment directed at our offender means cutting that rope between God, and us. That makes us hypocrites. Hypocrisy is not a simple lie. It’s made from layer upon layer of lies. Its prevalence plots the downfall of mankind. Therefore, defending the probity of our belief in God as our redeemer is essential to spiritual growth. Jesus didn’t circumvent the ordeal that would otherwise confound, and compromised his spiritual relationship with God. Jesus averted hypocrisy by making no excuses, and walked the talk to make certain nothing can be taken from this contextual stand point of his crucifixion other than the unyielding belief to redemption.

The spoken “forgiveness” by the Pontiff transcends when we understand, and accept the crosses we, and our offender both carry are sins of the same guilt. So, when we berate our offender, be sure to reflect the same thought upon ourselves with God in mind. We might be surprised to discover a similar trait in ourselves. Realising the cause and effect, we draw from humility to pardon ourselves. Humility is a personal quality made with God. The Pope also pointed out that the communion with God will be a struggle without a forgiving heart. Here, I’d like to think Heaven is a concept house with its inviting warmth rated by our capacity to forgive. The change that we want to bring to the world as the way Jesus did, starts with the person in the mirror.

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