At every Sunday mass (and I presume many other Christian church services) the Lord's Prayer is recited, the entire congregation joined together in united worship. It is, for me, the most important prayer at the mass, as it is the one taught to us by Jesus Himself. "Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name... Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us..."
When I get to that part, I want to choke. I feel like a total hypocrite uttering those words.
Think about it... if I am to ask for and expect forgiveness from God (and my fellow man), shouldn't I be able to forgive as well? I too have committed my own share of transgressions... trespassed, if you will... and have asked for (and thankfully received) forgiveness. Why then can it be so difficult for me to do the same? I can hold grudges for years, and the person who incurred my wrath usually knows I'm monumentally pissed off that not even a litany of the most sincere "I'm sorry's" can soften my heart enough to forgive and forget. Is it the betrayal, the feeling of violation, the loss of trust, the pain and suffering, the tears shed, the anger ignited? It could be a combination of any and all of these things that hold me back... all I have to do is see the bitch/bastard that angered me, and I see nothing but black and shadows, and hear the sound of that person's skull hitting the floor.
Yeah, I'm going to hell, aren't I?
Not long ago, both my brother and I were badly burned by one of our good friends... so much so that (after many hours of crying and enough alcohol) we visited a priest friend for spiritual counseling. He counseled us to forgive... to get over the hump of anger and hatred... to treat him still with respect. He has no idea how f-ing difficult that was (still is) to do. We try to push it all out of our minds, but (and I can only speak for myself) my heart is still smarting from the pain. I'll get over it completely, eventually. Maybe.
I have a long way to go before I can be as benevolent as the saints in heaven. I'm only human and am prone to spells of sadness, frustration and all out blinding anger. It takes much before I can forgive someone when I'm crossed, and much for someone else to forgive me of my own sins... but I know that reaching that point means coming to a state of grace, and I can only pray that I overcome my humanness in order to get there.
Update, July 22, 2006. The opportunity to work with this friend has very recently come up... if and when all things pan out, I'm going to take it. I'm too tired of hating. It's been 3 years, time for us all to act like grown-ups.