Day 6: Forgiving
Day 6 Focus: To Know I am Forgiven Allows Me to Forgive
Level 1: (5 Minutes) By now, if you have been stopping to notice your breathing each morning, you may be noticing it at other times during the day. Good deep breathing can help us physically, spiritually and mentally. Forgiveness is one of the more difficult things for us to do. However, the act of forgiving ourselves can be the most difficult. There is much literature on this topic—but the most convincing argument to me about needing to forgive ourselves is that we will only forgive others when we learn to forgive ourselves. There are no perfect people. Sit quietly and know you are forgiven. Breathe in God’s grace; let that grace purify your being.
Level 2: (10 minutes) Do Level 1. After Reading the dscripture adaptation, take 5 minutes to discern what word or phrase catches your interest:
Adapted from Psalm 25. To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in You I trust. Make me know Your ways, O Lord. For You I wait all the day. Remember, O Lord, Your compassion and Your loving kindness, for they are everlasting. Please do not remember the sins of my youth or my present transgressions. According to Your loving kindness, instead remember me as Your child. Give me the compassion to forgive others as You have forgiven me. For Your goodness sake, Amen.
Level 3: (15 minutes) After pausing to breathe and reading the Scripture prayer, take 5 minutes to write down how you feel about the act of forgiving.
Level 4: (30-60 minutes) At seventy the statement, “Please do not remember the sins of my youth or my present transgressions,” makes me smile. However the follow up statement, “instead remember me as Your child,” surprises me. Children are usually assumed to be innocent. I remember being taught that there was an age of reason—and that before that age we were unable to know right and wrong. The metaphor of Adam and Eve in the garden has always intrigued me. I read it differently from most interpretations. For me—when God tells Adam and Eve not to “eat from the Tree of Good and Evil,” I have always wondered if what God means is that we are not capable of understanding evil and therefore we will always be captured by it and unable to grasp it or control it but still be attracted to it. So asking to be remembered as a child is like asking for our innocence back. When I think of my own mistakes—of words I wish I had not said, or things I wish I had not done—I see that the process of maturing will always involve mistakes and risks—but all of this is necessary for growth. So accepting that I will try and fail as many times as I will try and succeed is to be fully human. The need to forgive is NOT something we do once. The need to forgive is more like breathing; we will always need to do this and we probably will need to practice deep forgiveness often until it is a reflex response.