Bless Me…for I have sinned


Today I had my first confession.  I decided last year that I wanted to be a member of the Catholic Church although I was raised in a different faith.  Next week is my confirmation…today was my first confession.

The sin is not mine.  Being assaulted, humiliated, beaten and thrown out like a piece of garbage is not my sin.  However, the consequences of their sins is mine to bear.  Because I carry those with me I did have a sin to confess.  The sin of unforgiveness.

How does one confess to being unable to forgive another person?  As a Christian, I believe that my sins can only be forgiven when I forgive others.  I believe that it is not right for me to say, “I can’t forgive them, look how they made me suffer.”   I can’t say that because I know that my sins made Jesus suffer on the cross and his suffering was so much greater than mine.  The consequences of my sins was Christ’s to bear.

This is the start of Holy Week.   Forgiveness brings peace and peace is something that I desire.  Peace for my brain and my soul.  Peace in that deep, dark hole that I sometimes dwell in.

I have been told, you don’t have to forget to forgive.  I do know that remembering doesn’t bring forgiveness, either.  The scars are still scars.  The pain still hurts.  I confessed my unforgiveness to the Priest.  He was very kind and understood.  Sometimes, maybe it is just saying the words, that helps move us forward.  I hope so because sometimes I am so tired of not being able to get free of the past.

I prayed for them tonight, Clarence, SGT Jerk and the backstabber.  I don’t think I did it very well but I know that God recognizes the attempt.  I know that learning to forgive is not about them it is about me.  When we live in unforgiveness we cannot receive the good things that God wants us to receive, like love and joy.  I know that for me even the happy memories can hurt so bad that even thinking about them makes me cry.  It is a hard loss, almost like a death, when even the happy memories bring pain.

Some people say that religion is a crutch for those people who have weak minds.  I say…a crutch is just what you need when you have been broken.  Anyone who has survived what we military sexual trauma survivors have lived through and have managed to come out on the other side…we are anything but weak in the mind.  Faith, a meaning to this beyond myself, is part of what helps me get through this.

Learning to forgive is a hard walk and I feel like I am still a long ways from the finish line.  I have been praying for a forgiving heart in this for a very long time.  I suppose if my forgiveness came cheap then it wouldn’t be worth much at all…to them or me.

So tonight, I confess my sin to you my brothers and sisters, that forgiveness is hard…so hard.  Hating them is easy and even in it’s bitterness I sometimes find it sweet.  At the same time I posted earlier this morning in Lessons from Good NCO’s that “we should chose the hard right over the easy wrong.”

This is a hard right…in fact, it is a wide, long and sweeping turn that is hard to navigate and very bumpy.  The light is up ahead somewhere.  I just need to keep moving forward.

Blessings and Peace,

Joan

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3 Responses to “Bless Me…for I have sinned”

  1. jayherron Says:

    When the Catholic church comes up on the stump and BEGS forgivness to the thousands of children abused by them,the hiding of the guilt-then maybe religion could be worth considering.
    Ah…but the FRIENDSHIP we can have with GOD is so far higher and above the church and religion,hmmm-I am concerned for you inside of that shield of a church…seek a stronger relationship with the Holy Spirit and ask for vision and guidance and the actual conversation you can have DIRECT with GOD,and not through another man.
    Please hear me as a man who has had deep experience in a church-where I was told God forgave me for being raped…? and-ran me off when I confessed I never voted-and was not going to vote for G.W.Bush (yup-really) claiming he was going to erase the laws legalized abortion…seems to me Bush made abortion his sand by starting the war….4000 adult soldiers aborted,for what.
    I DO NOT mean to sound unfaithful-I LOVE the LORD greatly,but know that the Lord is above and beyond and greater and more wonderful when one really REALLY becomes a true friend with GOD.
    Wow…my heart bleeds thinking of all the clergy abuse.
    Peace

  2. enemyinthewire Says:

    Jay,

    I completely understand your concerns – these were my concerns when I felt that God was calling me to the Catholic Faith. You are right, we don’t need an intermediary between us and God. I was raised in the Protestant Evangelical tradition so it took me many years of study before I followed where the Holy Spirit was leading me.

    True friendship with God is the greatest thing in the world. I believe that we are called to that beyond denominations. My heart also breaks thinking of clergy abuse. No one understands their suffering as well as we do, because we have also suffered.

    What I do know is that taking the time to say the words of confession last night to another human being, one who would not judge me or talk about me later, was really pretty liberating. Confession is not something that we do for God – it is something that we do for ourselves. The Priest did not tell me that I was forgiven for what happened to me and those sort of statements make me really sick. That is like telling someone that they have been forgiven for being murdered. The sin is not theirs.

    I have to see where this journey takes me and what God’s plans are for me within the church. After all, the church is the body of believer’s and not just the Reverend at the front of it. I just know that I have found more peace and joy and love and hope than I have seen in a long time.

    Blessings

    Joan

  3. jayherron Says:

    Blessings are always the best!

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