Today is the day we begin our journey, and as we leave, travelling the road of repentance, we are reminded that we need to ask forgiveness of all those we have offended, in word, action or in any other way, known or unknown. If we can't forgive, we should not expect to be forgiven.
That is a lesson I learned many years ago from my friend, who was the first to ask for forgiveness from me by a little note that she had written in my English class, that was passed to me, as we were not currently talking. Oh it had to be some silly thing. Actually, we were good friends, who else would wait for me outdoors in the early morning, in all types of weather, in order to walk to school together. Many mornings I was late, and found her to be a very patient friend. If anyone should have been asking for forgiveness, it was probably me. Yet, she taught me that she was the bigger person, as she in doing what she did, showed me the value of her faith. Her faith, in a church that down the road, little to my be knowings, has become my own. God does have a sense of humor....It meant even changing to another faith. She had planted the seed of what it means to forgive. (Without forgiveness there can be no love, even for yourself).
It was a great feeling to make peace with her then, and it was a great feeling to make peace with the member's of the parish today, as we, in forgiving others, showed our love for them, our fellow neighbor, and humanity. This is what God has done for man. When you love someone, you can't be mad forever. God shows His love for us by His forgiveness, and restoration.
Today, I am extending an outstretched hand, and am asking for forgiveness. Please forgive the many times I may have injured or offended anyone by anything that I may have said or done. Let us live to love one another in the spirit of peace.
The Orthodox Study Bible "Joy of Forgiveness"--(Psalm32:1) "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered."
As we progress down the road of repentance, we will hear the words from Jesus on the cross.
(Luke 23-34) "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do."
We recite the Lord's prayer, where we are taught how we should pray. (Luke 11:2) "when you pray, say: Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed by Your name. Your Kingdom come, Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."
This prayer is taken also from the Orthodox Liturgy. When we pray to "Our Father" we are but children, and as children, we all make mistakes, needing to be forgiven. We need to be the first to humble ourselves and ask forgiveness from those whom we have need of forgiveness from also, regardless of who is at fault. May you find it your heart to forgive me as I forgive you.
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