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Jesus' message is clear and resounding: «Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you». Is it possible to live out this attitude? What are we being asked to do? Can we love the enemy? Maybe we need to start by understanding better what it means to «forgive».

It's important, in the first place, to understand and accept the feelings of anger, rebellion or aggressivity that rise up in us. It's normal. We are wounded. In order to not suffer still more damage we need to recover as much as possible the inner peace that helps us to react in a healthy way.

The first decision of one who forgives is to not seek revenge. It's not easy. Vengeance is the almost instinctive response that rises within us when they have hurt or humiliated us. We seek to compensate for our suffering by making the one who did us harm suffer. In order to forgive it's important to not waste energy on imagining our revenge.

It's decisive above all to not nourish resentment. Don't allow hatred to install itself in our heart. We have the right to have justice done for us; one who forgives doesn't renounce their rights. But it's important to go about healing the damage that they've done to us.

To forgive can demand time. Forgiveness doesn't consist in an act of the will, that sets everything right quickly. Generally forgiveness is the end of a process in which also take part sensibility, understanding, clarity and, in the case of the believer, faith in a God whose forgiveness all of us live out.

In order to forgive it's necessary sometimes to share our feelings with someone. To forgive doesn't mean to say forget the damage that they've done to us, but yes to remember it in the least damaging way for the offender and for ourselves. The one who reaches forgiveness ends up feeling better.

Whoever goes about understanding forgiveness this way understands that Jesus' message, far from being something impossible and irritating, is the certain path to go about healing human relationships, which are always threatened by our injustices and conflicts.


José Antonio Pagola

 Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf

Publicado en www.gruposdejesus.com

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