In our Journey of Hope parish programs, we talk about how to practice forgiveness every day. In so many of the divorce situations, forgiveness is an ongoing matter. Here’s how it usually goes: at some point during or after the divorce, you realize that you’re tired of bearing all the hurt and pain and tired of being angry at the person you see as so much of the cause. You’ve been learning about forgiveness and you learn that it’s a conscious choice. You’re at the point that you’re ready to forgive. And you do. You forgive your ex-spouse for every thing – every last thing. And boy, does that feel good! It’s a lifting of a burden from your shoulders! You feel lighter already!
Whether or not you’ve contacted your spouse to tell him/her that you’ve forgiven him, you’ve done the productive work. You have forgiven! And you feel good! Time to move on.
Then one day, something happens. There’s a dispute over the children. Your ex wants to revisit some of the issues that caused your marriage to crumble. Any number of things can happen. And here you are. Right back in the place of needing to forgive. Again.
This is when you get the chance to practice forgiveness every day. Maybe not every day exactly. But on an ongoing basis. Forgiveness is not a one-time endeavor, and it’s over.
Try practicing forgiveness every day. You’ll find plenty of opportunities. But more important, you’ll find that in extending your hand of forgiveness, purely as your choice, you will receive more blessings than you can ever imagine. Your life will become more calm and controlled. And you will honor the Lord with your attitude toward your ex-spouse.
Then Peter came to him and said, “Lord, how many times must I forgive my brother who sins against me? As many as seven times? Jesus said to him, “not seven times, I tell you, seventy-seven times! – Matthew 18:21-22