This weekend as we reflect on the attack of 9-11-2001, I think it might be good to call to mind the importance of forgiveness in our life.
That fateful morning we were all going about our normal daily routine…people were commuting to their jobs, children were returning to school…some were traveling on business trips…some were reporting to their public service jobs. No one knew that morning how drastically life in this country would be changed.
Many people faced their death that day with little or no time to prepare or hear the voices of their loved ones one last time. Many were thrust into life or death decisions. Many had choices to help themselves or to help others.
There is no greater love than to lay down your life…John 15:13
Countless numbers of families lost loved ones that day with no opportunity for closure. Many lost loved ones without the chance to say what needed to be said. Families and communities were torn apart. Children lost their parents. Spouses lost their partners. Parents lost their children. The list of losses goes on and on.
First responders put their fears and concerns last and entered what was to become their tombs.
~Forgiveness aids Healing~
We all watched in horror as the twin towers billowed smoke and ultimately crumbled to the ground before our very eyes. The earliest reports suggested a terrorist attack which; ultimately were confirmed to our greatest sadness. Fear surged throughout our country; as a community and as individuals we were ripped open.
~Forgiveness restores Peace~
As the morning unfolded two more airlines crashed; one into the Pentagon building the other in a field in an open field…
In the following days each individual person, whether directly or indirectly, had a choice to make forgiveness or anger and hatred their guiding force.
~Forgiveness neutralizes Resentment~
It takes great courage to forgive. It is not an easy decision to make. I know of cases where a loved one’s death has caused great sorrow because of the inability to forgive.
There is abundant research supporting the benefits of forgiveness. Our mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing is directly affected by our capacity to forgive. Harboring anger and resentment within is like embedding a heavy anchor permanently within your soul.
Forgive your neighbor’s injustice; then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven… Could anyone nourish anger against another and expect healing from the LORD? Sirach 28:2-3
Forgiveness is like releasing a caged bird; allowing it to fly free into the air. Forgiveness is the gift of mercy and love when it appears to be most undeserved. Forgiveness is like rebirthing your own soul. Forgiveness confirms that goodness is bigger than wrongdoing and evil. Forgiveness is like planting flowers in a barren desert.
~The Forgiveness Mandala~
I invite you now to use the forgiveness formula below to begin or continue your healing process through forgiveness. Place the name of the person, institution, community, or your own name on the blank line. Continue by reading the rest of the paragraph. I did not write this but I hope you find it to be helpful.
________________, I now understand why you behaved the way you did and I am sorry that you are so filled with pain that you feel you must inflict it on others in order to regain your own power. I refuse; however, to let you hurt me anymore. I am choosing to let go of the pain you have caused me, for my own sake. I realize that letting go of this pain does not minimize or condone your bad behavior. It does, however, validate my own worth as a person and my right to finally be free of your abuse. I am choosing to take back my personal power so that I may heal. I now release all the hurtful emotions I feel regarding your behavior. I am now free to heal and move on.
“Please forgive me,” “I forgive you,” “Thank you,” and “I love you.”
…Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…
~Gratitude and Forgiveness~
Joined together create the best of who we are called to become.
May your life be surrounded with gratitude and grounded with forgiveness.