An interactive session between the moderator and the members of Bed Briefing House.

Topic: Unconditional Forgiveness.

Date: 13th September, 2020.

Venue: Bed Briefing WhatsApp House.

Moderator: Mr Kevin Umoette

Time: 8:30pm

Collation: Miss Adaobi Obiekezie, Memberof the team “Let’s Talk It App”.

The term unconditional forgiveness has so much intricacies and sensitivities especially to us “especially since the human nature” is evidently in our DNA

Mere creature of flesh, yet cherishing resentment! – who will forgive one sinning? Remember the last things, and stop hating, “corruption and death” and be faithful to the commandments!
_*Sirach 28:5-6*_

The topic for our deliberations today reenacts the purposefulness of living in harmony as the psalmist would say in Ps 133 v 1 – “how good, how delightful it is to live as brothers all together”.

This harmonious living is evidently achievable when we constantly wear the garment of forgiveness!

*Forgiveness which is a gift to oneself and to others is simply an individual, voluntary internal process of letting go of thoughts and feelings of bitterness, anger, resentment, grudges and the need for vengeance and retribution toward someone who we believe has wronged us, including ourselves. It requires a sustained effort and a significant investment of energy if we are to move in the direction of lasting change.*
Having given a little Insight to what forgiveness is…
Unconditional then becomes a limitless act of forgiving.
For forgiveness to be, there must be an offender.

So I’ll ask us…
Knowing fully well that forgiveness is so easy to preach…

– *How would you forgive someone who comes out in the open to say that he/she is responsible for your dad’s death?*
To you, your dad was your all in all…
The moment he died, your world saying “also died” as we’d normally hear?
#1. As much as it will be difficult to forgive, I will not pay back by taking the person’s life. I will rather allow him to be kindly disciplined in order that there could be a repentance of heart in him. What I actually mean by kind discipline, is anything that could be done in order to save the soul of the murderer, should be applied. If it means going to jail or sent to monastery, I will allow it out of love🤷‍♂️ NB A monastery, It’s a nice place to discipline our relationship with God and be freed from satanic manipulation.
#2. This one is hard…I will forgive only because of God.
But I’ll make sure you’ll be confessing from the prison..

*If we must be truthful to ourselves, majority of us would resolve to take the persons life*….
But to what end!
I asked that question to open us up to sensitivity therein in forgiveness…

Sometimes it’s very easy to say than do!
Today we heard the in the gospel…about the unforgiving servant!
Who reprimanded another after the master must told him to go…
The master did tell him to go…

– *But did the master actually forgive him?*
#1. He did, but he refused to accept the forgiveness by refusing to forgive his fellow servant….
Okay…He did agreeably!But I feel he may not have known that the master has forgiven him in full!……

I can remember this scenario back then in my secondary school when I offended one senior student badly 😁, he was one dreaded fellow (because every junior student dared not to cross his path)
But what he just did was tell me to go…
I was in the moon but the perception we had about him made me to always keep away from him…
In essence, I was imprisoned in my mind that he could someday call me to pay for my offence. So probably that may have been the notion of the servant…
Advertently, what I’m saying is, when we say we’ve forgiven someone, we should state it categorically clear to the person that he/her has been forgiven…
We move to the next point……,………….

We hear people say things like….I’ll never forgive him after all the pains he caused me!
Some go as far as saying, even in my dying bed or over my death body… I’ll never forgive him/her… To such they have become victims of unforgiveness…
#Question: How can preach (or help such as these) to come out of this bondage of unforgiveness?
There was a case where 2 women were quarrelling for space in the church. The reason being that the spaces were not enough for the both of them to use.. One was fat the other was slim. This fight was done during time for consecration. During the time for distribution of communion, one of them told the other that she’s going to deal with her once she’s done with holy Communion. How can Forgiveness be preached to the woman who made that statement. Having it in mind that she’s going to receive the body of Christ…….I know the question I asked may not be practical to us (but people with unforgiving nature – spirit needs to be helped…

#1- It’s hard oooo. If you even start talking, you might get insulted and told to mind your business….
#2- Bearing in mind that the cup we bless and the bread we break, is a communion with the body of Christ (ICor.10:16-17), we ought to be very careful, in order not to receive condemnation rather than Life…

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Going by answer #1………The world of “minding one’s business has alienated the brotherhood”🥺 bearing this in mind, how they can be helped?
Trying is not bad especially if you try not to relate the advice to the situation at first, then gradually bring it up…
..But we need nothing but wisdom – that’s why St. James in one of the chapters of his letter says; in all that you ask, ask for wisdom!
A friend once posted…
*”Words are like keys, they can unlock any heart when used rightly!”*
Which I retorted,…
_*To use any word rightly, you require “environmental intelligence”*_
In essence, when dealing with people earlier exemplified, environment should be taken into consideration!

*Today we were told a story in the church about a family consisting of 3 children (2 girls and a boy) the oldest was the boy.
One night armed robbers came to their house while the last girl was in school and took all their money then before the robbers left,one of the robbers insisted on raping the second daughter, after he did that in front of the whole family,he shot their parents and left, throughout the whole thing the robbers never bothered to hide their identity and so the eldest son saw them clearly.
This happened in Kaduna,15 years later the children had moved out of Kaduna and had moved on with their lives then one day the last girl who was absent during the robbery in Kaduna came back home with a man she wanted to marry,it turned out that it was the same robber that had shot their parents and raped the elder sister..
The younger sister had previously told them about the man,how she said the Lord used him to work miracles and change people’s life for the better,that was why she had fallen in love with him even though she was not aware that he was the one responsible of them become orphans….*
The question our priest posed to us was if we were in the girls sibling’s shoes would we forgive the man or not…..
#- The deed is done, refusing the marriage will not bring their parents to life. I think they should be considering if there’s actually a repentance of heart from the murderer….
…Granted the deed has been done but the pain they went through is still there,the sin the man committed wasn’t just that of murder,he soiled there sister and took away what they had to live on,we are humans no matter what we want to believe such cruelty would be nearly impossible to forgive.
It’s not gonna be possible to forgive humanly…
But the truth, we have done terrible things too!
Human nature is such that we tend to forget the wrong we’ve done to other when we are faced with wrong done to us by someone else,even if they were to remember that they aren’t saints,you can’t possibly compare the robbers sin to anything they may have done to someone else..
If we were to put it in perspective imagine you punch me and in retaliation I stabbed you,is the retaliation equal to the provocation?
We should always bear in mind that death is not an end, grave is not an end for a Christian. Therefore, we should not allow the event of death to set barrier on our relationship with God when it comes to forgiving a murderer. It’s actually difficult but we ought to faithfully think beyond that…

Padre, in his homily today quoted the general saying of *Alexander Pope* – “To err is human, to forgive is Divine”…

This invariably shows that in as much as we remain human…we’d continually err no matter how much we strife!
We all have difficulty to forgive at first but when the inner process begins, we’d not find it difficult to do so!
That’s why Mandela in his words when asked why he was so cheerful then than the one who through the prison courtyard with so much sadness on his face on the day of his release said… “I was sad because I felt I have lost everything, my family, friends and wife are no more but when I left the anger, resentment and all the negativities, I began to find my footing… I found my happiness…”
In most cases, we become slaves to unforgiveness because we’ve not forgiven ourselves either…
So first to forgive, we must start with ourselves!

#Question- Why did Jesus command Peter to forgive 70 time 7?
Because we should not keep count of the offences done to us. There’s no reckonable limit to forgiveness…..

The number 7 is very symbolic…
The first and second accounts of Creation shows this too!
Symbolically, the no 7 in the scripture stands for perfection
So Jesus Christ commanding Peter to forgive 70 times 7, does not only imply the limitlessness of dispositions towards forgiving but all also how well we should strive towards perfection
If you multiply 70×7, it gives 490… The 7th year in the Leviticus 25 is seen as the year of release…
Still in Leviticus, 490th is the year of jubilee…
Thus, the perfection embedded in 7 had Christ telling Peter to forgive for 7 into 10 times, times 7…
It might be difficult to forgive humanly but we have to strive towards perfection!

#Questions from members….
-1 Can you name 3 people that attained perfection (I mean humans)…
——-Only God is perfect…And I never stated that there is any perfect human! I only said we should strive towards it! Christ exhorted us so…”you too must be perfect even as heavenly father is perfect!” Cf Matt 5:48

-2 My question is…. If someone offends you and you later forgive the person without the person asking for your forgiveness, if you severe the relationship (i.e, you stop communicating with the person? in order for such act not to repeat itself, can we still call that a genuine forgiveness?
——-You’ve forgiven the person quite alright, cutting the ties is definitely humanly!
But from my own point of view though; to severe the relationship without the person’s knowledge for the sake of avoiding the previous happenings is way totally outta the context, in the sense that, the person may not come to any knowledge of you forgiving him or her!
So to me, the forgiveness is incomplete, hence not total
We may not be Christ but we’re trying our best to emulate him everyday of our lives!
The question you should ask yourself is if Christ is to forgive me and cut the ties so that I’d not offend him again…what would be my fate?

In conclusion…
True (total and unconditional) forgiveness, is an individual and internal process; and justice administration, an external solution to an internal solution to an internal event that rarely satisfies the complexities involved in the process!
Unforgiveness affects us psychologically, morally, mentally, spiritually and otherwise!
We should also mistaken forgiveness to be pardoning, excusing an offense, forgetting about or condoning!
And like Pythagoras would say…”man is the measure of all things” – you’re the measure of the determinant of forgiveness and unforgiveness but the former is better than the later!
Thus to fully forgive;
You’ve to identify the hurt (source), acknowledge hurtful emotions (what you are feeling), forgive and let go, breathe in compassion, forgive unconditionally (without reason), be grateful and love again!
We pray for the grace to live out what we’ve learnt today, and try not keep records of people’s wrongdoings against us…
Remember Ps 129/130…”if you Oh Lord should mark our guilt, Lord who would survive?”
The Lord is indeed *compassionate and gracious*!
Thanks so much your time and have beautiful night rest!
God bless you all

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