1. What it isn’t
Mercy is not:
- Condoning what they did. If they did something that was wrong, then that is not okay.
- Waiting for them to apologise or repent for what they did or make amends.
This may never come, so stop holding onto a likely dream.
- Ignoring justice or eliminating consequences.
You may sill have to call your lawyer, or the police, or seek an AVO on the person.
- Forgetting what happened. Sometimes mercy requires remembering first. Boundaries may need to be established.
- Pretending that nothing really happened
- Reconciliation – at least, not necessarily. In the very best of circumstances and situations, yes, it will be. Reconciliation should be our ultimate aim, but forgiveness and reconciliation are two different things.
- Sometimes you can’t go back to what you had / what it was
- Don’t pretend that it didn’t happen
Reconciliation takes two healthy people who have worked very hard to resolve this matter
2. What is it?
You may need to forgive someone:
- If you can’t or won’t say their name. How many people only speak about their former spouse after the divorce as “my ex”? You see something similar when you only speak about a person’s title or position, rather than using their name. Not to name someone separates us and reduces or even removes any intimacy. A clear sign that we are still holding onto stuff.
- If a person’s name comes up in conversation – how do your friends react? Is there an immediate tension as people brace themselves for you to react?
- If you hear of something good happening to that person and you are saddened, or angry, or hurt; conversely, if you hear that something bad happened and you are happy: these are strong signs.
- If someone else is almost haunting you like a disembodied spirit or ghost; it is like there is an annoying buzz or static in your heart.
- If whenever you think about that person, you always associate them with the memory of that thing that they did / that action that hurt you so much.
- If you blame them whenever things don’t go well.
- If you wish you’d never met them / fell in love / married them / worked for them / ministered with them / been in their parish / been inspired by them…
- If you wish they were dead
3. Who do I need to forgive?
- You can’t forgive an institution
- The Church didn’t wrong you
- That company didn’t wrong you
- That country didn’t wrong you
- The government didn’t wrong you
- Your family didn’t wrong you
- It is always people or a person that we need to forgive
4. What is forgiveness?
- It is a process that takes time. Wounds do fester, so it takes time to heal.
- The first step is the awareness of the problem.
- If this week, you begin to be a little less angry or revengeful – then that is a victory. Let us agree to claim the victory whenever we can!
- Mercy indeed moves. It moves us to respond; it moves us towards healing; ultimately it moves us to reconciliation.
- Moving to mercy may happen in an instant; or more likely, it will take many days, or weeks, or years.
- You recognise that you are beginning to move into mercy when you refuse to allow someone else to rob you of your joy.
- Forgiveness is making the decision to set someone free, and discovering the person set free is me.
- Someone said that not forgiving is like drinking rat poison yourself and wondering why the rat never dies! Not forgiving allows the other person to rent free space in your head or heart.
- Moving Mercy is all about being set free.
- If you want mercy for yourself, then you need to extend it to others as well. This is exactly what we pray in the Our Father each day: forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
- How do you get breath when you are underwater?
- You need to both breathe in and breathe out.
- A snorkel lets air go both ways.
- If you don’t forgive others it blocks the flow to yourself.
- Our issues with other people often come back to us.
- We first live in this flow and then share it with others.
- This is what we will undertake over the next four weeks.
Recorded at St Paul’s, 9.30am Mass
Sunday One, Season of Lent, Year C (L1C).