Happiness is usually associated with the acquisition of things. It's difficult to comprehend how one can be happy by shedding off possessions. However, getting rid of two things - unforgiveness and hatred can truly make us fully happy
Unforgiveness is a sin, many of us struggle with. Including me. If allowed to seed and take root in the heart, it becomes very difficult to overcome. The longer it is allowed to fester, the more harmful are the consequences of unforgiveness.
Let's read what the Bible says about unforgiveness:
From the above Bible verse, one may get the impression that God is merciless but He is not. The one who genuinely repents of their sin of unforgiveness and forgives another, even at the last second of their life will receive God's immense love and mercy. But the reverse is also true.
I've had this hypothetical story in my mind for a long time. Through this story, I understood how one can either be washed in God's immeasurable graces or be deprived of it.
Imagine it's a rainy day and it's pouring heavily.
You are in your house, warm and cozy. Even though it's flooding outside, you do not get wet. But then suddenly you decide to go out, with an umbrella. Just before you step out, you open up the umbrella.
Under the protective cover of the umbrella, you do not get wet. Your legs, of course, catch the wetness but on the whole, it doesn’t affect you at all. After spending some time under the open umbrella, you decide to close it.
Within a few minutes, the rain completely drenches you. You are wet to the bone, soaking in rainwater. Not even a single patch of your body is dry. Remember, it was pouring earlier too, before you closed the umbrella but you did not get wet. You got drenched after you closed the umbrella.
It’s the same with God’s love and forgiveness for us.
It’s always available. Whether we are untouched by it or soaked in it depends on whether the umbrella e.g. a sin like unforgiveness, is blocking God’s graces or no.
The man in the above parable (Matthew 18) chose to keep the umbrella open. Hence his heart did not get drenched with God’s forgiveness, thus subsequently, he could not transmit any forgiveness onto his debtor. He was in the midst of God’s forgiveness, pouring all around him, but his sin was blocking the graces from touching his heart.
Jesus asked all those who are heavy laden to come to Him and He would give them rest. Sin is also a heavy burden, in fact, heavier than our sicknesses and worries. Jesus should be allowed to complete His work in us. A man should not usurp God’s work.
God has His own way of taking vengeance.
No one can predict but look at what happened to Alessandro Serenelli, the youth who stabbed Maria Goretti to death. Or to Peregrine Laziosi who struck St. Philip in the face. Or to Samandar Singh who murdered Sister Rani Maria in 1995. These 3 men were forgiven by their victims.
This Lent, let us remember the verse from Mark 1:15 - "Repent and believe in the Gospel". And embark on the steps to forgive others
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