You’ve probably heard that forgiveness is for the wounded more than it is for the one who inflicted the wound.
Holding on to wounds is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Right?
Forgiveness allows us to start fresh, to heal the wounds we’ve been hanging onto, and hopefully to stop the cycle of transgression. It comes as no surprise, then, to know that our wonderful Church has given us an entire sacrament centered around forgiveness and starting over. Confession is our chance to be forgiven, yes, but to also forgive ourselves and start afresh.
Now, new is not always my favorite thing, I’ll tell you.
New situations, new people, new phones even, can make me want to close my eyes, plug my ears, and sing loudly enough to block out any external stimuli. All things new come inherently with a labor of not-so-much love. And I don’t, to this day, love the idea of getting ready for confession.
You should hear my inner voices arguing: “You’re gonna get laughed at. You can’t tell the priest that,” argues with, “But it’ll go fast, and you’ll feel so relieved after; you always do!” And they’re both valid debaters, these inner voices of mine. I have been laughed at in confession. I’ve been scolded. I’ve heard a gasp from the other side of the screen, when I didn’t even think what I’d said was so bad! (I promise! I immediately thought maybe he misheard me, and then I froze wondering what he’d thought he’d heard, and it was a traumatic experience.)
But I’ve also been taught candid lessons by priests in the confessional.
I’ve been told beautiful, wonderful things by confessors, who’ve helped me to look at my actions differently. Like, sometimes we are the ones who inflict the wounds upon ourselves, and until we fix the reasons for our self-sabotage, the wounds won’t heal and the behavior won’t change. The labor is hard, but the fruit is sweet.
In confession, we are able to begin again with fresh eyes and fresh souls, and be reminded that God’s love for us is so great that we are forgiven for anything if we ask it.
Psalm 51:12-14 “A clean heart create for me, God; renew within me a steadfast spirit. Do not drive me from before your face, nor take me from your holy spirit. Restore to me the gladness of your salvation; uphold me with a willing spirit.”