Broken Heart

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I finally got up enough nerve to ask a question that has always bothered me in Sunday School class this morning. We were discussing The Lord’s Prayer and the words “debts” and “trespasses.” I asked what these words meant in the context of this prayer because they surely meant more than owing money or trespassing on someone’s property. The consensus of those in the class was that these words meant to forgive those who have wronged us so that our hearts will be open to receive God’s love and forgiveness. The class agreed that holding on to a resentment blocks your heart from receiving God’s healing love. The discussion about the harm done by resentments could have been lifted verbatim from a twelve step meeting.

I cannot believe I have been in recovery over thirty-two years and a Christian longer than that—–and did not begin to understand this important point until this morning. I realized a long time ago that the Lord’s Prayer is talking about creating God’s kingdom here on earth in the here and now by all that we do and by us being a conduit for God’s love, but I had never before realized the full meaning of the “forgive others” part of the prayer. I cannot feel worthy of forgiveness, forgive myself, or be receptive to God’s forgiveness as long as my heart and soul are barricaded by resentments that shut God and God’s love out.  It is not that God doesn’t love or forgive me; the problem is my heart can be closed off and unwilling to let God love and forgive me.True healing cannot occur without allowing God access to my heart, and bearing grudges and holding resentments keeps that from happening. No wonder the 4th and 5th step in twelve step recovery are so important————without forgiveness there cannot be healing, and without recognizing our transgressions and making sincere amends for them wherever possible, healing cannot occur.

Forgiving wrongs done us by others can be an overlooked, unspoken part of working the 4th and 5th step. Working these steps ask us to own our own responsibility for the part we played in the situations that gave birth to our resentments. We must do that first and forgive others their part in the wrongs we’ve experienced before we can be forgiven—–by others, by God, and by ourselves so we can experience the healing embodied in letting go of resentments and/or working the twelve steps.

I hope everyone is having an enjoyable Sunday. May God bless and keep you.