Day Twenty-Three Reflection
Practicing Forgiveness as a Choice
Reflection By Scott Stoner
There is a paradox when it comes to forgiveness. If someone has done something that has hurt us deeply, we have to decide whether or not we will choose to forgive them. At the same time, because they have wounded us deeply, it often feels like they are the last person to whom we want to, or should, offer forgiveness.
In yesterday’s reflection, Jake Owensby poignantly described his struggle as a new parent to forgive his abusive father for the pain he had inflicted during Jake’s childhood. Jake’s anger and resentment blocked his ability to forgive his father, and only after he sought spiritual guidance did he realize this and could begin to let go of his resentment.
Jake’s story of forgiveness is personal and thus unique, yet all of us have stories of how we have been bruised by life. Perhaps we weren’t injured by our parents, but if we live long enough, someone will hurt or betray us, and we will then have the same choice that Jake had. We will then have to decide whether to hold on to our hurt and resentment, or to begin the process of letting it go, and doing what we can to mend what is broken.
This week’s reflections will explore the theme introduced by Jake, that forgiveness is always a choice. Will we hold on to our resentment or guilt or will we begin the hard work of letting go of it so that we can forgive and heal ourselves and, perhaps, mend the relationship?
Making It Personal: What is your response to the quote from Jake? What thoughts do you have about the idea that “forgiveness is a choice”?
Follow along with us on our retreat with our daily reflection and engage in discussion in our closed facebook group moderated by The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner, Creator of Living Compass Wellness Initiative, The Rev. Mary Bea Sullivan, Chair of the Commission on Spirituality, Ms. Kathy Graham, Coordinator of Lifelong Christian Formation and The Rev. Kelley Hudlow, Coordinator of Communications.
In this group, participants will have a chance to share their responses to the prompts in the daily readings, and also the chance to receive additional material for reflection.