Humanity can sometimes let us down. This is a lesson I have learned in the past few years in dealing with some troubling times in my family. People are often untrustworthy, imperfect, and make mistakes, and this is true even in the closest of families. Each one of us carry bruises and pain from times when we have been let down by our neighbors, family, and those we’ve trusted. The weight of sin can be too much for some of us, and it pulls us deeper and deeper away from hope. That is where trust in God comes into the picture. When the world burdens us with failures, broken promises, and sadness, Christ is there to pick us up with strength, promises of eternity, and joy in the Lord! Psalm 25: 4-7 reminds us that we need to trust in the Lord’s goodness and forgiveness to guide the life journeys we’re on:
“Show me your ways, Lord,
teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.
Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love,
for they are from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth
and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
for you, Lord, are good.”
Throughout the Bible, we see God’s promise of hope and forgiveness. Learning from his example, it is our job to imitate the Lord’s forgiveness with those who have wronged us, and accept forgiveness in return. When Peter asked Jesus in Matt 18: 21-22, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?,” what was the response? “Seventy times seven” (….or more of course). We must strive to imitate this forgiveness in our everyday lives, too. Forgiveness is necessary for cleansing our hearts, but Jesus calls us one step further yet: to love as he loves. It can be very simple to love or it can be very difficult, the choice is our own. During some of the most difficult years with my family, I knew that I had a decision to make. I could either harbor resentment towards those who hurt me, or I could try to forgive them and love them in whatever way I possibly can. Today, I still can become irritated when tensions rise, but I’m trying to look at the situation through a lens of love.
Even if it breaks your heart, even if all efforts seems lost, by showing love to your neighbors and forgiving transgressions, you are imitating Christ whether you realize it or not. Strive for that same goodness and righteousness with which Christ instructed his disciples: as I have loved you, so you must love one another. Go out and do the same!
Krissy Kirby is a recent graduate of The Catholic University of America in Washington D.C., and will soon be teaching Kindergarten in the Archdiocese of Washington.