Finding Peace and Joy in Forgiveness

Chaplain’s Corner

Padre Zibby Jonczyk

Earlier this morning I had a chance to make a presentation about forgiveness which was a part of the Managing Angry Moments course offered by the 4 Wing’s Personnel Support Programs.

I am not sure if you follow the news, but I was deeply moved today to see a video of this man, whose brother was killed INSIDE HIS OWN HOME by a police officer who allegedly entered the wrong apartment thinking it was her own and mistook him for an intruder. After the sentence of 10 years in jail was given to the young woman, the brother told the court how he did NOT want her to suffer, how he did NOT even want her to go to jail because that was not what his brother would have wanted. And he asked the court if he could give his brother’s killer a hug. The scene of their emotional hug was, as you can imagine, a very powerful one.

I am sure I do not need to convince you that forgiveness is a good thing. I am also pretty certain that some of you might have tried to forgive someone or yourself at one point of your life or another yet had difficulty doing so. Or perhaps there was something bad we once did or said. Maybe someone we have wronged in the past and now we might be seeking forgiveness. But whatever the case may be chances are that we might have realized that forgiveness is a challenge.

Something important to know about forgiveness is that it is your choice, and it is also a process. There is no magic. It requires our act of will, it is not a sentiment or an emotion. If our decision to forgive is sincere it will give us emotional freedom. Forgiveness might take some time because the negative feelings and emotions which have been tormenting us, perhaps for a very long time, might also take a long time to completely disappear.

When you forgive someone or yourself you might experience different reactions or results. One of them might be a feeling of peace, your spirit
being liberated, it is like that tremendous weight that was crushing your heart has been lifted up. All of a sudden you feel like you can breathe. It is truly a good feeling and an incredible experience. You might find that you were not able to sleep because of the thoughts and grudges always filling your mind and now you can sleep like a baby. If the forgiveness is
genuine there is no doubt that peace and joy will fill your heart.

No matter how grave your hurt has been, try to forgive. Ask God to give you strength and courage to forgive the things people have done to you. There is a saying that goes like this: “Let go and let God.”

Let go of your hurt and let God fill you with love. The Bible tells us “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Mt 6:14-15)

And last bonus: forgiveness will give you better physical, mental and emotional health and bring you closer to God. It’s definitely worth the try!