Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Marriage, it's about forgiving

So are you still with me on this journey of discovering who God meant for us to be so we can set the world on fire? We've been covering a lot of elements of the road to becoming that person. Yesterday we spoke about how marriage is about giving, giving of oneself. Marriage is the most common vocation. It is my vocation, so it is the one I know best. Yet, in essence, giving of oneself is essential to all vocations. All callings, are about giving one's life for others. In fact, it's what life's all about. It's the only way to discover true joy.

Today I want to talk about the another essential component. It is actually more than just essential it is the lifeline of marriage, and really to all relationships. It effectively flows from the nature of selflessness. It is forgiveness.

The Latin word for forgive is perdonare. "Per" in Latin means "thoroughly" or "completely". "Donare" means to "give" or to "bestow." Furthermore, in old English we find the word forgiefan which means to give, grant or allow...etc. but it also means to give up or give in marriage.

Interestingly enough, to give in marriage, as we spoke of yesterday-- to give oneself, requires forgiveness. Let's just be straight here. You cannot give yourself completely if you are not willing to forgive. It's just not happening. Next question? How much are you willing to forgive? That is up to the forgiver. However, it also needs to be compared to how much are you wanting to be forgiven.

Let's examine this a bit more. Forgiveness, as we saw earlier, in its root is a gift. Forgiveness requires that we treat the offense as if it never existed. It's erased. And no. There is no forgiving yet not forgetting. That old adage is quite false. If you forgive, you must forget. Holding on to an offense or a hurt means you have not fully forgiving. Not forgetting--means not forgiving. Perhaps one is not ready to forgive. That can happen. It happens often in marriage. The forgivee must respect the forgivers need for time to heal and to reach that place of being able to forgive.

Yet, we ask ourselves again. How much am I willing to forgive? Let us look at where forgiveness truly stems from. Not etymology, but the source of the existence of forgiveness. It is God.

God is the creator of love.

Therefore, He is the creator of forgiveness.

You cannot have love without forgiveness.

Love cannot grow without forgiveness.

God was first to forgive us.

He forgives everything.


Pope Francis said it best: “God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy.”

So how much should we forgive? In marriage? Daily. In marriage? At every chance. In marriage? Because we love. In marriage? Because we give ourselves. In marriage? Because without it, we will not survive and love will atrophy. Marriage will wilt and die without forgiveness.

Yet, we are human and there are some human offenses that in the end we may be able to forgive, but we must detach ourselves in order that we may not be hurt again. Hurt in severe ways. In ways in which a marriage can no longer be sustained. But I am not addressing that type of forgiveness today.

I speak of marriage where self-giving is mutual. Hence, forgiveness is the fertilizer. Forgiveness allows for the weeds to be pulled and the garden of love to flourish and flower.

Dear Lord, 
Make me an instrument of peace within my marriage,  
that I may love in the most selfless way. 
Allow me to love as you love. 
To forgive as you forgive. 
Let me never tire to ask for forgiveness nor forgive. 
Let me nourish our love with a love that springs from You, 
who are the source of all love. 
In this way, may we enjoy all the days you grant us together, 
in joy, peace and tenderness for one another. 

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