Pardon is Your Name
I come across many people who have difficulty forgiving. Sometimes, the challenge is to forgive others. Parents, children, spouses, siblings, friends. Sometimes it’s institutions, structures, powers and principalities, the weight of history with its myriad injustices. Sometimes it’s a ghost, an illusory entity created to bear the burden of real and imagined grievances. Sometimes it’s God. At least as often the problem is forgiving ourselves—the people we were, the people we are, the people we are daily failing to become. We live in a world where wrong is so often done, a world where forgiveness is not easily mined out of the mountains of wrongdoing that build up over time.
I often find myself in need of good words when it comes to forgiveness. I found a few today in Edward Hays’ Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim. This is called “A Psalm of Pardon”:
I have searched for it in every pocket and hiding place;
I cannot find it, your gift of Self.
I know it is here, buried beneath my pain, somewhere in a back corner of my heart:
but for now it is lost.
Make me your messenger of the good news I cannot now speak.
Give to me words of forgiveness, the healing touch of pardon,
the love that weds two as one.
I know that to forgive is divine, but I am no deity,
and I fear I will be a demon, who, by failing to forgive,
will spread the kingdom of darkness.
Remind me ten times and more of all that you have forgiven me –
without even waiting for my sorrow, the very instant that I slipped and sinned.
Remind me ten thousand times and more of your endless absolution,
not even sorrow required on my part, so broad the bounty of your love.
Yes, I can—I will—forgive as you have forgiven me.