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by: Karla Cole
Boy, today’s gospel is a tough one. Love your enemies, turn the other cheek, don’t be judgy. Jesus goes on to say that we get no credit for loving the people that love us already. We need to love the hard cases. We have to love the people that offend us, that do mean or downright evil things to us, people that we just don’t like. Loving those people is really tough. And sometimes the hurt is deep enough, or harmful enough that it seems we just can’t get past it.
I had a conversation with Fr. Tim Hodapp about exactly that several years ago. I was having difficulty forgiving someone who had pretty grievously wronged me, and I was carrying all that anger around like some prized possession. My anger didn’t bother that other person one whit, but it was tormenting me, and I knew I needed to let it go. But forgiveness? That was asking a lot. Fr. Tim simply suggested that I keep praying. And try praying just for the ability to forgive that person. Being in process, so to speak and let the forgiveness come in time.
It’s easy to forgive someone for a little thing. You can do it on the spot. But the big things do take time, I think. You have to be in a place where you can let go of your own anger and resentment and see the big picture. Maybe even see the other person’s point of view. And I think that just doesn’t come easily. For me, it takes a lot of one-sided conversations with God until I’ve gotten it all out and can finally give God a word in edgewise. It’s a process.
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