November 15, 2011

Hope through Forgiveness

We all make mistakes. Some are big, and affect our lives or our world for a long time while others are small, and impact us on the inside in how we view our place in the world.

One thing is certain, we can’t change the past. The laws of physics in our universe assure us of that. So what can we do, but move forward into a new day.

We can learn so much about ourselves by realizing our faults and human frailties. And it does us no good to berate ourselves for our mistakes. We need to learn what we can from our minor disasters and then learn how to move on.

First and foremost, if we have done harm to others, we must ask for forgiveness. If we are unable to do this face-to-face, we can bring our requests to God. After all, He is the master of forgiveness. Pray for forgiveness for your mistakes, and pray that God's comfort will be known to anyone you have caused to feel pain.

We should pray to God for forgiveness if our actions have taken us off the path He chose for us. We know when this is so because of the way we feel inside.  Sometimes our choices seem like a good idea at the time, but we realize later how self-serving they were and how wrong it makes us feel.

There are times when we feel anguish over our choices, like a pounding waterfall beating us relentlessly with torrents of regret and shame. These are the times to come before your Maker and confess your mistakes and pray for forgiveness and a new direction in your life.

Other times, our mistakes are smaller and not as far-reaching, though we feel the sting in our memory and wish we could right the wrong. Sometimes this can be achieved by facing our guilt straight on. Pray for direction in how to go forward. An apology can go a long way in bringing peace to your heart and to others if they feel wronged. Pray for grace, that God will help everyone involved respect and understand the humanness behind the error.

We will make mistakes. It is part of our human nature. Staying stuck in regret will not help us. We must learn what we can from the past, and move forward with new hope. Let the little things go by, as they are probably not a big as you think. And work through the big problems with an eye toward what you can do to right the wrong rather than dwelling on what you have failed to do.

Take time to understand why you made the choice you did, to help prevent making the same mistake again. Understand that we are all human, and God knows we will make poor choices at times. He wants us to live in freedom and in peace, so do what you can to makes things right, and then forgive yourself. This is usually the hardest part, but you can take this to God too. Ask for help. Pour out your heart to Him. His is listening. 

Let God’s grace shine in your life and live it as an example of how we should treat one another. And that includes loving yourself. Charity begins at home, and must extend to all the world. Let us find hope and peace through forgiveness and compassion, and allow it to spread throughout this world we share.

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