Forgiveness sets you free from resentment’s confines; it breaks down the walls that anger builds and negativity reinforces.

I was struck by a facebook post from a friend. She shared the simple Act of Contrition taught to her in grade school to her own daughter. Here it is

O God, I am sorry for my sins. Please forgive me. I know you love me and I want to love you, and be good to everyone. Help me make up for my sins, I will try to do better from now on. Amen

I was also taught about the act of contrition in a Catholic School but that was over 40 years ago. All I remember is “Forgive me, Father for I have sinned…these are my sins…blah blah”. The act of contrition is a Christian prayer genre that expresses sorrow for sins. I don’t need to rattle off my sins to a priest because I have done this privately many times.  I believe God is everywhere.

The truth is I have sinned for acts that I did as a wife and mother. Though I have said sorry and seeked forgiveness from God and from family members as well, I think one must also forgive oneself and never do it again. Apologize and make amends for one’s bad action or words are the steps to healing and preventing resentment in relationships.

It’s never too late to apologize

Why should I apologize? I have learned that as long as I am sincere in my apology, saying sorry lifts that the burden off my chest as instant relief washes over me. I certainly don’t want to prolong any bad blood.  A proper apology will straighten everything out. According to psychologist Guy Winch, author of Emotional First Aid, “An effective apology doesn’t just heal the wound for the other person. It’ll dissolve your guilt, too.”

Basically, whenever an apology is given, one has to truly mean it—and strive to change one’s behavior so that  mistakes won’t happen again.

Twelve  years ago, my husband and I had our own share of marital conflicts. He would do something I found objectionable and then very quickly say sorry. I told him I  more interested in seeing his  behavior change.  It’s easy to say sorry; it’s harder to spend the time to understand why you’ve hurt someone and to work on not hurting them again.

Practice forgiveness

Through the years, my husband has shown through his actions that he wanted  to change. After truly being sorry, forgiveness is one of the greatest gifts we gave each other.

Forgiveness sets you free from resentment’s confines; it breaks down the walls that anger builds and negativity reinforces.

When we forgive, we stop letting our pasts dictate our presents. We acknowledge we want the very best for ourselves; accepting that our past makes us the person we are today, and embracing that.

Letting go of resentment doesn’t necessarily lead to forgiveness, but when you embrace forgiveness, resentment ceases to exist.

I know that I cannot control what other people do including family members, but I can control how I react. When I practice truthful living, self-expression, and forgiveness, resentment simply has no place or power in my life.

“Forgiveness means that we are not going to allow the experiences of the past to dominate our future”

Photo Credit

How often have our loved ones hurt us to the point of saying “I will never forgive ____”? Well, I haven’t ever said that but I did hear others say such line. Being unforgiving carries so much burden to the body, creating undue stress to the heart. Of course, I am often faced with “I’m sorry” now and then but I always take apologies with a grain of salt. Being sorry means not doing the same mistakes over and over again.

I think about forgiveness today because my friend Carlos Celdran is facing trial for allegedly violating Act No. 3815 Section 4 Article 133 of the Revised Penal code. The Church did not drop charges on “Offending the religious feelings” and chose to place Carlos on trial. Perhaps to punish him and teach him a lesson. Make him suffer for his alleged crime. For how long?

Carlos said “the Church is not forgiving me…” Most of us in Twitter felt the Church is quite hypocritical coming from a religion preaching about love and forgiveness. The same church that does nothing to children abused by priests. The church decision to pursue the case speaks much of how they all talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk!

So I am now wondering why can’t the Church forgive Carlos? I will never know what the Church thinks. I am not quite happy with certain sectors of the Catholic Church right now.

I would want to remind the church that forgiveness is not avoidance.

Forgiveness is not merely a soft attitude toward a harsh fact; forgiveness is the vital action of love, seeking to restore the harmony that has been shattered.

Forgiveness is not excusing.

Forgiveness is not denying that the one who has caused the hurt is responsible for their actions. There is a place for making allowances for people’s behaviour.

It is hard for me to hold grudges and that is one reason I am a forgiving person. Though I would forgive a person a number of times, I believe in boundaries. I’d never give anyone the opportunity to hurt me over and over again.

I feel the Church should have come up with a resolution that is acceptable to both sides. Then just let it go.

Letting go means that one is not going to allow the experiences of the past to dominate one’s future and to prevent one from becoming all that God has planned one should become. The Church clergy who were offended by Carlos actions may have unpleasant memories that are hard to forget .

There may well be memories we are unable to put out of mind, but we choose not to allow them to control our attitudes and behaviour in the future, even toward those who may be responsible for those memories.

The lessons of forgiveness holds true even in our personal lives. It does not come easy. In the end, we are the ones who suffer most when we choose not to forgive.

It is a choice, a decision we make.

Have you forgiven someone today?


Here are the reactions on the church decision to pursue case against Carlos Celdran.