About this blogger:
Ronda Chervin received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Fordham University and an MA in Religious Studies from Notre Dame Apostolic Institute. A widow, mother, and grandmother, she currently teaches philosophy at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut. Write to her at chervinronda@gmail.com.
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“It introduces us to a still and serious world, deserted and rigid, without colour, without light, without motion; it does not gladden, does not distract; yet we cannot break away from it.”
— Schweitzer on the THEME from Bach's “Art of Fugue”

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Day 15: Forgiveness
published 4 December 2011 by Dr. Ronda Chervin

What you will read now is part of a series of 100 spiritual challenges. Each blog can be viewed separately, but for maximum benefit a reader needs to start with the introductory blog of November 18, 2011, and then continue step by step. Day One begins on Sunday, November 20, 2011.
    [ Click here for 100 STEPS ]

“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” (Luke 11:4)

Today we begin theme 3 of The Way of Love: Step by Step – Forgiveness vs. Anger

Here is the teaching we will explore for the whole week. As Christians most of us say the Lord’s prayer at least once a day. It includes the incredible challenge of forgiving everyone for anything if we want to be forgiven ourselves. Yet how often we hear others say “that is unforgivable.” And in our hearts sometimes, even if we say we forgive, we may harbor deadly resentment. “To sin is human; to forgive is divine,” is a line from the English poet, Alexander Pope. Most of us know that in the case of really bad hurts to really forgive from the heart comes only with grace from God.

Refusal to forgive can be seen in ways as unloving as hate, bearing grudges, total withdrawal, to milder forms such as avoiding others who want to reconcile. In my book Taming the Lion Within: Five Steps from Anger to Peace (see books) I identify as one of the most common underlying reasons for anger that I want to be the heroine of the drama of my life and I want others to be secondary characters or walk-ons who say and do what will enhance my role! Since they are also have the same wish and want me to be a secondary character, they will resist and I will usually feel angry every day.

Here is a story of forgiveness that should help us forgive anyone! A woman told me that her husband left her and their two children to live with another woman. He had 3 daughters with this other woman without getting a divorce to marry her. After a few years the first wife agreed to take her husband back for the sake the children. Then just before the birth of their third child, the man left her again for the second woman. However, the first wife found Jesus and went back to the Catholic Church. Her husband came back. He confessed his sins and they enjoyed many years together. On his death bed the other woman called the wife and asked for her forgiveness. She gave it. The second woman and the daughters came to the funeral and they are now all close!

Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta used to ask the dying if they wanted to go to heaven. When they said “Yes!” she would say, “First you have to forgive.”

Maybe your first reaction to this is, “Yes, yes, yes… but, not that one.” If so, don’t close your heart. Try. With God all things are possible.

During this week we will look at growing in love for forgiveness in specific areas of our lives: family, friends, bosses, co-workers, God, and lastly, forgiving ourselves.

Day 15 The Scope of Forgiveness

Today make a list of all the people you have ever known who you have been angry at whether you have forgiven them or not. (If you are writing things down vs. listing them in your mind, you might want to use initials vs. the names.)

Dr.Ronda’s examples: I came up with almost forty names of people who I felt hurt by in big or smaller ways. I pondered this huge number and realized that if I feel hurt by anyone who doesn’t want to be for just what I want him/her to be, then I will always feel hurt.

Your examples:

Prayer: Oh, my Jesus, You who forgave your torturers during Your passion, in order to usher in the kingdom of love, help me this week. You know the stinging hurt and bitter anguish of the ways I have been wounded. Yet You demand that I forgive. So, put Your merciful heart into mine so that I may receive the balm of mercy to pour out on my enemies, as You did.

Read more blog entries by Dr. Ronda by visiting RONDAVIEW. Dr. Ronda Chervin has many free e-books and audios on her website rondachervin.com. If you go to her website and read or listen and then want to correspond with her she will be available. Her schedule does not permit, however, responding to comments on the Blog, though she enjoys reading them. Dr. Ronda’s newest project is spiritualityrunningtogod.com.