Growing up as the youngest of 3 children, I was always teased about my weight, short stature and stammering speech by my elder brothers and friends. I slowly began hating myself because I began believing all the people around me.
By the time I reached 8th standard, I had turned into a rebel. I started using foul language and began insulting people who teased me. This began putting a strain on all my relationships. No longer was I able to communicate properly with people but on the contrary, I developed a great hatred towards them. I began drinking too, in an attempt to drown out my pain and hurt but to no avail.
During the peak of my troubles, I was introduced to the community of CFCI – Singles in Bengaluru by my brother who by this time had turned to the Lord. During the course of the CLS (Christian Life Seminar), I heard a talk on ‘Sin’ and was convicted there and then of so many areas in my life where I had moved far away from the Lord. The Sacrament of Confession that ensued was one of the best of my life and it helped lift a huge burden of my shoulders.
All said and done, I still harboured a great deal of hatred towards my family and friends. One day while I was praying, a passage from the book of Sirach struck me like lightening. It said,
“Forgive your neighbour the wrong he has done, and then your sins will be pardoned when you pray. If one has no mercy towards another like himself, how can he seek pardon for his own sins?” (Sir28:2, 4)
Thus began the process of forgiving my family and friends. It wasn’t easy but with a lot of prayer and with the grace of Jesus, I was able to let go of much of my anger and hatred.
Recently, I attended an inner healing retreat where I began the process of forgiving my dad who hurt me and my family the most. The peace that I experienced as I forgave Him was incomparable.
I know that I still have a long way to go but I am sure that the Lord will give me the grace to forgive others and mend broken relationships. As St. Mark the Ascetic writes,
“The sign of sincere love is to forgive wrongs done to us. It was with such love that the Lord loved the world.”