As a member of the choir in our parish, I am able to attend both Mass times. It affords me the opportunity to hear the homily twice and let it really sink in. This weekend, Father Arnel talked about an aspect of forgiveness that I had never really pondered before. He said that many times people get away with doing terrible things during their lives here on earth, but they will have to face Divine Justice:
Beloved, do not look for revenge but leave room for the wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord. - Romans 12: 19, NAB
Justice is one of the cardinal virtues and it means giving everyone their due. God is not a pushover. He made that very clear when he overturned the tables of the money-changers in the Temple. Our God is a God of love, and part of love is protecting the beloved. If we have been hurt, He finds a way to not only make things right but make them better than they have ever been before.
Knowing this certainly makes it easier to let go of our grudges and offer them up to God. Truthfully, as long as we have stood up for ourselves, there isn't much more that we can do. Some people will never experience remorse for what they've done and will find a way to blame the victim. Others will deny everything and try to get other people to think that the victim is a liar. We can always remember that the truth wins out in the end.
Forgiveness doesn't excuse their behavior. Forgiveness prevents their behavior from destroying your heart. - Unknown
By offering our wounds to the Lord and allowing His grace of forgiveness to wash over us, we can be truly free. After all, what is better "revenge" than letting our enemies see that we are still standing? That we didn't just survive but we are thriving?
I was pondering this when the following song started playing on one of my Pandora stations:
Grieving is very important, because if we don't take time to grieve we are left with a false sense of happiness. However even in the midst of darkness we can see the light and the hope from this light is an aid for forgiveness, true freedom, and perfect joy.
Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. - Philippians 4:8, NRSV