“I hope he rots in Hell!” the woman (let’s call her Marge) sitting in front of me said, her voice filled with bitterness. I sat and listened attentively for the next fifteen minutes as she described in vivid detail all the nasty things her ex did and all the pain he brought into her life. Listening to her, I thought that she just went through a divorce. I was wrong. She went on to tell me that she was divorced over twenty years prior. The lines and wrinkles etched on her face spoke of the many years of anger and resentment she was still carrying around.
Marge was stuck. Her failing to let go and to forgive was causing her to relive the painful events of twenty years ago–everyday. She was stuck in the past, and it was robbing her of peace, joy, and even her physical health.
Our Lord gave us a roadmap to follow when we are wronged or persecuted. He taught us to pray for those who persecute us and to forgive them. While this can be very difficult, it is essential to freeing ourselves of our painful past and claiming the great life God created us for. Start by praying everyday for the grace you need to let go of the resentment and to forgive. Forgiveness is a process that takes time. Rely on the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation to give you strength. Don’t give up! It is the key to your emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being.
“You have heard this it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” – Matthew 5:43-44