Forgiveness: Letting Go of Resentment
By Elizabeth Barrera
With so many tragedies that happened in the world during 2017 and everything “wrong” that I can selfishly say has happened in my life as well, I’ve given myself time to take a deep breath and reflect. I think to myself “if I had been one of those people who suffered through a natural disaster, would I be happy with the way I’m living my life right now? Would I be content with everything I’ve accomplished, with my actions toward those I love and those I don’t - would I be okay with my character?”
Reflecting on all the misfortunes has truly helped me understand that sometimes what you want the most will hurt you the most. That sometimes temporary pleasures can cause the most harm. And many times, that thing you’ve been fighting for for years now, isn’t what you truly need in your life. It helps me understand that some things are too toxic to keep around (because yes, things can be toxic too).
Most of all, I’ve realized that forgiving is better than holding onto resentment.
I was in mass earlier last year, and the gospel was about a man who learned to forgive. And during that lecture, when Peter asked Jesus if he should forgive 7 times, Jesus responded with something along the lines of: “I expect you to forgive not only 7 times, but 70 times that”.
During the homily, the father went on to explain what was expected of us, and he said one thing that stood out to me. He said that yes, we are expected to forgive, but it’s also okay to remove yourself from that situation. And when you remove yourself from that situation, ensure that you have forgiven wholeheartedly, and not that you’ve done it just to give yourself credit for it. That you haven’t walked away with resentment.
With all of this in mind, I want to invite you all to forgive and repent and to open your heart to as many people as you can. With all the natural disasters, terrorism, organized crime, and discrimination going on not only in the world, but in our nation, we don’t know when our last day is. We don’t even know if our last day will be crossing the street to our apartment, a block away from home. We don’t know if we’ll go to sleep peacefully and not wake up the next morning. Don’t take your life for granted. We don’t know what the last day for each one of us looks like, so I urge you to learn to forgive and open your heart.
Make an effort to become the best person you can be. There’s no shame in being kind, helpful, considerate, and compassionate. It all begins with one person making a difference. You have the power to impact one person in your life, so if you’re doing someone wrong, then do yourself a favor and start doing them right or leave them alone. If you’re hurting someone, make a change in your life. Become better not only for them but for yourself. I can guarantee that once you make the change, you’ll be much happier.