“If you forgive others their transgressions, your
heavenly Father will forgive you. If you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.” Matthew 6:14-15
As we are making our way through Advent, preparing the Way of the Lord in our lives, consider the bustle of your workplace. How many decisions in the corporate world are made because people are angry with each other rather than by what makes the most sense?
If someone wrongs us, on the job or in traffic, we think it is easier to hold grudges, complain, criticize, plot revenge or even update the resume. We blow precious time trying to prove we are right instead of just staying the course and remaining focused on our goals.
Forgiveness is the universal antidote. Resentment only limits you, not the person you resent. Forgiveness frees you. Forgiveness gets your head back in the game faster. Both in business and in life, you can’t win it if you’re not in it.
I understand that this is much easier said than done. I have dealt with professional hurt before. The kind of hurt you bring home with you. It is hard to forgive at times. And even when you first forgive, you will not forget. Here is the reason why:
Forgiveness is a skill that must be developed and practiced. Forgiveness requires a strong – not weak – heart, and the heart must be exercised to handle it. You cannot forgive the big hurts if you cannot first forgive the little ones.
I know this can be as daunting to your spirit and ego as a marathon is to your lungs and legs. So get yourself in the habit. I have found two things that work for me.
First, every time you recite the Lord’s Prayer, and you ask to be forgiven as you forgive those that trespass against you – mean it. Stop and think about everyone who has upset you, since the last time you prayed, and forgive them. Picture them behind bars and you have the key. Use it to release them. Trust me, there is tremendous power in that.
The second is to pray for a specific person you need to forgive. This can be a simple petition for God Himself to forgive the person by name, and help you do the same. Or you can take on a larger, concerted effort, like an entire Rosary with the person in mind. This may seem like work, but at times work is required to forgive others and free yourself – especially when you are hurt by a co-worker, key customer, management, friend or even family member. Whatever you do, do not scoff! The reality is you will spend time thinking about the person and/or incident anyway. Make the time productive for yourself.
The results are peace and clarity. You will breathe, work and sleep easier when you un-clutter your heart and mind. You will also find more energy to press on towards goals that are bigger than yourself.
Who do you need to forgive today? I’ll help you get started: say, “Lord, today I forgive (name names). Amen.”