Saturday, May 1, 2010

Forgiving others

When a friend hurts his friend, it causes a chasm between them. The sacred trust in the bond of love is no longer there. Nearly all actions are marked with suspicion and doubt. And forgiveness. Forgiveness requires not just canceling debts, it calls for a restoration of the relationship. And that's something I find impossible to do at times. See, with an enemy, you can just call a truce or agree to a prisoner exchange. For a friend, you're expected to not only surrender, but also to trade and sing the same patriotic songs with them as well. Maybe that's why the Reconstruction left a terrible taste to the South.

You know I love the Lord of the Rings, so let me quote to you what Frodo says at the end of the trilogy: "How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on, when in your heart you begin to understand... there is no going back? There are some things that time cannot mend. Some hurts that go too deep, that have taken hold." Frodo Baggins describes exactly how I'm feeling right now. Some friends' actions seem like betrayal, malice, neglect, etc. Maybe to the point where I just don't want to see their faces anymore. Maybe to the point where I wouldn't even pay my last respects to their funerals. Okay, I'm overreacting here. But sometimes, do you ever question whether it's morally justifiable to break, intentionally, a friendship because it's too hard to love in return, too hard to forgive for the mistakes made, and too hard to give unconditionally? 

Didn't Christ command us to love them though, even our enemies? Yes, Jesus did ask us to love, and he showed us how. When I think of my friends' mistakes against me, it angers me, upsets me, but when I then turn to Christ, to his Cross, it puts things into perspective. Peter's absence wasn't just cowardice; it was betrayal. He didn't just shied away from the scene, he denied Him. And yet, Jesus said to him, "take care of my sheep."

Dear Lord, grant me the grace to forgive my friends, to love them, and keep on praying for them. Purge me of the anger and resentment I have left of my hurts and heal my broken heart. Amen.

St. John, patron of friendships, pray for me.