Facebook is a truly amazing phenomenon. You may hate it, you may be addicted to it, but no matter what you think of it, some pretty incredible things have happened to me as a result of being a member.
Of all the people I am connected with on Facebook, there have been at least 8 people who, over the years, have sent me personal messages apologizing for past transgressions. That is amazing to me, that first, I am in touch with people I knew years ago that I never thought I’d see again and second, they have been carrying around guilt from something they said or did that they believe hurt me. And the table turns very easily, too, for I’ve been able to apologize to others for my own transgressions. But wow, it’s a great thing to be able to say, “I’m sorry” and eliminate the bad feelings.
That’s why I love the season of Lent, because it’s all about repentance, mercy, forgiveness and best of all, change. There are multitudes of blessings that accompany the sacrifices you make and change of heart you experience.
Maybe you’re giving up something that personally costs you, like COFFEE. It’s the hard-to-make-it-to-the-office-or-get-through-the-afternoon-without-a-nap kind of sacrifice, eh? Maybe you’re giving up Facebook? Or maybe you’ve decided to give up explicatives while driving (not a bad thought, eh?). The possibilities for sacrificing are endless. Permit me to offer a suggestion that might help you have an unforgettable Lent…
My suggestion is simply to take action and relieve yourself of the burden of guilt, resentment and unforgiven sins from past relationships.
Any single person can do this, regardless of age or status, and it’s an exercise that will help you erradicate the bad feelings that linger from past relationships and live Easter with great joy.
- Did you have a bitter or messy breakup?
- Did the two of you sleep together or have other intimate encounters that you feel guilty about?
- Are you angry that communication just faded into nothing when you thought you had a good thing going?
- Are you harboring resentment over the way he or she treated you?
- Did you tell a few little white lies when you wish you had told the truth?
There could be many things about past relationships that are cluttering up your heart, leaving little room for God’s grace to fill. This is why it is important to do a more intense interior house cleaning to prepare for Easter and the joy of the Risen Christ, so your heart may be completely detached from these hurts and resentments and truly experience the peace and happiness only Christ can bring to you.
Here are a few suggestions on how you can clear out these burdens of your heart and make room for the great graces God has in store for you, as well as prepare your heart for a new relationship:
- Go to confession, but try and make a general confession. A general confession is when you spend several days examining your conscience and make an appointment with your parish priest to spend time discussing the last several years of your life, or if you haven’t made one before, your entire life up to that point. This way, instead of waiting in line on a Saturday to make a rushed confession, you’re able to really talk things out thoroughly with a priest and get to the bottom of things. It is a very cleansing and uplifting experience.
- Offer your lenten sacrifice for the person or people you are trying to forgive. Offer a rosary for them or a mass. If you have a hard time forgiving this person, offering your prayers and sacrifices is a great way to get into the forgiveness mode.
- If it is appropriate, contact them to make an apology. This can take the form of a handwritten note sent in the mail or even an email. It doesn’t have to be a phone call unless you feel that would be beneficial. If you have to see the person, make a concerted effort to acknowledge their presence with cordiality and treat them well. For many people, that, in itself, is a great sacrifice.
The bottom line is Lent is the perfect time to divest yourself of the obstacles getting in your way of having a happy and fulfilling relationship with someone else, and with God.
If you want to enter into a new relationship that is solid and happy, I can’t think of a better way to do so than to let your heart be as free as possible from the past by forgiving others and forgiving yourself and the sins that took place within those relationships.
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