In this episode, Lorissa reminds us of the restorative power of God’s great mercy and the incredible privilege He’s bestowed upon us to extend that mercy to others. If you are struggling to forgive someone in your life, this episode is for you. 

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Hello, my friends. And welcome to episode 62 of made for greatness. I am your host today, Lorissa Horn. And if you are listening to this right, when this episode is coming out, it is the beginning of 2022. Here we are. This is the first podcast episode of the year for made for greatness. And I’m excited to be with you today in January and the month of January Sterling. And I just kicked off our great life program. So I wanna just to invite you if you are not in masters to come and check it out. It’s not too late. And no matter when you are listening to this episode, whether it’s in January or July, you can always come and check it out. That great life program is gonna be in there and you can dive into it at any time is so, so good. All right.

So with that, let’s dive into today’s episode. I’m gonna be talking about forgiveness today and I’m gonna be sharing some things I’ve never shared before when it comes to forgiveness, but I hope I can shed some light on this topic. We as Catholics, know a lot about forgiveness and reconciliation, confession, all of that, but I’m going to invite us to look at all of this, maybe with some fresh eyes. And I hope to just with the grace of God today, just share with you some new perspectives on this topic, particularly for anyone that right now is maybe holding on to a painful memory or a painful experience from their past and is struggling or grappling to forgive someone in their life. Now, first of all, I wanna talk about memories, just memories in general. I mean, obviously, we can have painful memories.

We can have really good and positive memories, but this is the crazy thing about our brain. We can have something that happened to us years ago, that we can like memory will pop into our mind, or we will think about something. And although something that happened a long time ago is no longer happening to us, the memory of it. And it’s like literally, our brain can almost completely relive it in such a way that it evokes it creates the memories and the thoughts we have about that memory can evoke the same type of emotions that we experienced when that memory happened. Good and bad. This is one of the reasons that we all, you know, a lot of us love Facebook memories so much, you know, in a, in a positive way we can, you know, have a memory that happened three, four, or five years ago.

We completely forget about it. And then it pops up on our memory in Facebook and all of a sudden we’re like, oh, like reliving that memory. And we see the pictures from it or the video from it. And it just brings back a gush of emotions from that day. It’s so powerful. It’s to the point today that most of the time now when I post something on Facebook, I’m not necessarily posting it just because I wanna share it with everyone in the world a lot of time, especially when it’s a really happy moment. I wanna it and post it just so that I know that it will pop up in my memories a year from now and six years from now, or whenever it’s super powerful also. I mean, it’s, so our brain is so powerful in the sense that I can think back.

I, you know, I’ve given birth to seven children. There’s one particular birth that out to me, a lot, my son, Noah, he was over 10 pounds and it was the most painful labor and delivery I went into. But I can, at times of like, I were to sit and think about that memory hard enough, I could literally evoke not to this, not to the same degree, the physical pain that I went through, but I can, like, I can feel in my body sensations of that labor and delivery like that is how powerful our brain is. Even though that happened 13 years ago, when I sit, which I, I don’t do this often, it’s not like I sit and think about this, but I know that if I were to, I could remember the physical pain of that moment. And so I just wanna bring this to our attention and help us to realize how powerful our brain is with that though.

We and we do this a lot of times, unfortunately, even with, you know, painful memories in, in relationships that we have, or when people have hurt us from our past, maybe it’s something long, a long time ago from our childhood or from our adolescence or from, you know, our early adulthood. It doesn’t even matter when we can, EV we can evoke those memories and live through that experience to the point that it evokes all of those negative emotions so much so that it feels like at this moment, in this present moment as though that person or that person’s actions are still hurting us, and the more we relive it, and the more we allow for those memories to just like to be where we are consumed by those painful moments, the more we experience the actual pain of something, even though that person is no longer hurting us or that they’re not hurting us at this moment, but the memory and reliving the memory over and over and over is now what’s causing us pain.

And this is just powerful for us to be aware of and how our brain works. The deal is, is that our brain is doing what it’s supposed to do. Our brain is trying to protect us. It’s trying to, to keep us safe. So it, it remembers those things as a way to say, you know, this was something that hurt us before. Let’s try to avoid it in the present or in the future. Just like, you know, when, when you touch a hot stove, you have a memory like you burn your hand. And so, you know, to, you know, be cautious next time you’re buying a hot stove. Our brain remembers those things because it’s trying to protect us. And yet this is also why in a very spiritual way, God has given us the whole concept and the power, of forgiveness of reconciliation.

He’s even given it to us in the form of a sacrament, because God, in his great love and his great mercy for us, he wants to allow for restoration and healing to take place in our lives, the healing of memories, the healing of the past. And even in a lot of cases, the healing of our relationships, the healing of our hearts, the healings of our minds, all of it. And this is really what I wanna dive into today. We all know the gospel story of Peter coming to Jesus and saying Lord, how many times should I forgive my brother who has hurt me seven times? And Jesus responds no, not seven times, but 70 times seven, the gospels are packed with Jesus, not only extending forgiveness but telling us to do the same and to, to follow after him, after his example of forgiveness, it’s incredibly powerful.

And yet, so often in our own forgiveness can be so, so difficult. A lot of times we associate forgiveness with feeling like, well, if I forgive someone, does that mean that I have to accept that what they did was okay, or what if I feel like the person doesn’t deserve forgiveness, maybe they’ve hurt me so bad. Do they even, do they deserve forgiveness? Sometimes we think why should I forgive someone? They haven’t asked for my forgiveness. They certainly haven’t apologized, or even acknowledged that what they did was wrong. Why should I forgive them? Who, who are they that they should have that forgiveness from me? Sometimes we feel like forgiveness is just letting them off the hook or making it seem like what they did is okay. But my sisters in Christ that is not forgiveness. Forgiveness does not erase what happened and it doesn’t even make what happened.

Okay. But what forgiveness does do is it allows us to look at the person that caused the injury or that caused the pain and to see beyond just what they did to see that there is a person themselves that is in need of mercy and healing in their own lives. What forgiveness also does is it, it’s not that it lets them off the hook for what they did, but in a way, it lets us off the hook of carrying all of the anger and the resentment and the bitterness that comes with that comes along with the emotion of unforgiveness. It lets go of the baggage and the burden that holds us down. That’s what it does. And we know that God is the true author of both justice and mercy, right? God knows all things. So he is ultimately responsible for the justice that we deserve as well as for the mercy that he gives to us.

So graciously. And so in all circumstances, we can allow God to in his infinite knowledge, in his wisdom and in his knowledge of all things, we can allow him to take the responsibility for the justice piece. As he can, he can be the judge, of all of that. And we can just relinquish that to him. But then the beautiful thing is, is that he can, he allows us to participate in the extension of his mercy. And I’m gonna talk about this in a few moments because this absolutely blows me away. When I think about being able to participate with God in extending his mercy. I think it’s just crazy, but I wanna bring in a Saint here. And I know that there are so many saints throughout the history of the church that has been extraordinary examples to us, of, of forgiveness, but one in particular is, and I know you’re all probably thinking about this right now is St.

Maria. Grete is this beautiful young teenage girl who we all know the story. She, you know, this young man came, he was gonna take advantage of her. And in her kind of fighting him off. He ended up stabbing her 14 times and she didn’t die immediately. She, she died a little while later, but right before she died, she forgave him. She forgave Alessandro, and she prayed for God’s mercy for him before she died. And then as we know not too long after she appeared to him in a dream and a vision, and she said, these words to him, I ended. I forgive you. And I want to see you in heaven. Those words led to his conversion, led him in a lifetime of eventually becoming a religious himself and for him to grow in like holiness. And this is so incredibly powerful.

This is really what God invites us to is Maria GRE didn’t appear to him in a vision and say, Alessandro, don’t worry what you did. It wasn’t a big deal. It’s not what she said at all. She appeared to him and said, Alessandro, I forgive you. And I want to be with you in heaven. I wanna see you in heaven. And for me in my life, I think this is been the power of forgiveness in my life. I’ve had so many opportunities to go to confession and to go to God and to seek his forgiveness for my many offenses. And I can tell you that I have had to apologize to so many people in my own life for the times that I have hurt them for the times I’ve fallen short for the times I’ve been hurting myself and that hurt, like I’ve allowed that hurt to come out in, in me in ways that have hurt others.

And so I have had to ask for forgiveness, and I can only imagine that there have been probably countless times that I’ve hurt people. And I don’t even know if I’m aware of it, that I probably didn’t even ask for forgiveness because I wasn’t even aware how I hurt people. We all do this. We don’t, you know, sometimes we hurt people and we never even intentionally mean to do it, but we have our actions have, or our enact have caused people pain. And we’ve never apologized because ultimately we weren’t even aware of it. Like it wasn’t something we consciously did. And yet I can even think about the people in my own life and some of the pain in my, in my life. I have had many opportunities to forgive others, to forgive people who have hurt me. And in a lot of those situations, those relationships have been repaired and stored in really powerful and beautiful ways.

But this is dim. Although every time I’ve forgiven someone, it hasn’t been that I have just accepted that. What they did was okay, never. And we shouldn’t do that. That’s not what forgiveness is. And sometimes we can, those relationships can be restored. And sometimes even in, in cases, those relationships are made stronger and better, but there are circumstances. And there are situations at times where it changes our relationship. Sometimes just like a hot stove, like when we’ve been burned, we have to be really careful in the present moment or in the future to protect ourselves from the possibility of being hurt again. And so there are some relationships that are changed because of that and even more. So there are some relationships that have to actually experience closure in our lives. This is what we call it, creating boundaries. Sometimes we have to create new boundaries with a relationship because of the pain that we’ve experienced in the past.

We can forgive the person, but now we need to create boundaries in a way that makes sure that we are protected and safe in the future. Some of those boundaries, you know, look differently, but for me in my life, I can think of two particular individuals in my past who have hurt me so greatly that I know that my boundary is that I can no longer be in a relationship with those individuals 

of jewels, but this is the beautiful thing I have gotten to a place where I have been able to completely forgive them for the pain that they caused me and I can forgive them. It doesn’t mean that I condone what they did. It doesn’t mean that I’m okay with what happened. But what it does mean is that I can look past the pain that was caused me to see that individual, to see that person as a beloved child of God.

In those cases, I can see that the pain that they caused me was likely are a reflection of past pain in their own life. And I can even have compassion for them. It doesn’t mean that I wanna spend time with them. It doesn’t mean that I wanna have a relationship with them in this life. But what it does mean is that I absolutely 100% want to have a relationship with them in heaven. I desire to spend eternity with them, with God rejoicing, with God, in, in what God is capable of doing. And so for me to get to this place of being able to say, not, not that, what they did was okay, but that I can love them so much that I even at this moment want what’s best for them. And what is, what is best for them? Well, God is what’s best for them and God’s love and God’s mercy and God’s grace. 

All of that is what’s best for them because I wanna spend forever rejoicing with them and all like everyone else in heaven with all the saints forever. And so even to this day, because of the grace of, for, of forgiveness. Now, when a memory happens to pop up from the past that it was involved with, with one of those individuals, the actual God has softened those memory memories, and God has restored those memories and healed them to the point that I can evoke one of those memories or a couple of those memories. And I no longer feel pain. I just am stirred to pray for them. And I think that this is the beauty of what forgiveness does for us. It also has shown a light to me in the sense that I can now walk. Like I can look back on those memories. I can look back on those situations now from a place of great wisdom that God has taught me things through those experiences.

He’s taught me about other people. He’s taught me about myself. He’s taught me about my own strength. He’s taught me about how I can overcome really painful and hard things. And he’s taught me about compassion and about all of those things and this is why I believe forgiveness is so important that I no longer have to carry the burden, of unforgiveness and everything that comes with it. The anger, the rage, the resentfulness, all of it. And I can move forward and walk closer with God because of it. When we think about a painful moment from our past, that is a story that is in our experience. But oftentimes it is a story in which another person’s actions and behaviors create a story in which we become a victim in which they cause us pain because of their thoughts because of their emotions and because of their actions.

And so we become in this story in this old story, we become the victims. We are the ones that feel like we are powerless in cases. A lot of times we feel like we don’t have any sense of control. That that person that hurt us has control. But what forgiveness does is with the grace of God, when we extend forgiveness, it allows us to rewrite a story. It doesn’t delete the old story. That old story is still there. Their actions did yes, cause us pain. But the news story where we put forgiveness into our line, like into our thoughts and into our emotion line, where we feel the emotion of forgiveness, and we make the choice to forgive someone. This, the news story is that we are no longer the victim. The news story is that we are the hero and we are no longer powerless. 

But with God, we become very powerful, powerful. We become powerful bears of mercy. We become powerful bears of light in the darkness. And in this new story, we are in control. We are in control of how we choose to think how we choose, to feel how we choose to act. And ultimately how we choose to show up forgiveness leads us to be the superheroes in our lives with Jesus. As our model of this, we get to follow in his footsteps and do extraordinary things. We change the narrative. We know the story of Jesus and his passion and his death, everything that he went through, we know we call him the blameless victim. That was the story, but what did he say right before he died, father, forgive them for, they know not what they do.

His story changed. He God, himself like Jesus in his, in his humanity, but also in his divinity like that, like he became the hero of that story. And he likes the power of people’s sin, the power of death like it had, it had nothing on him. He was power powerful overall of it. And this is really what we get to participate in and enter into. When we step into this place of fully being able to forgive someone that has heard us. I want you to think about this. We all know the story of the paralytic, man. You know, his friends opened up the roof and they dropped him through the roof and, and they asked Jesus like, please Lord, like you can heal him, right. But we know how this story goes. First. He says to the man, I forgive you. Your sins are forgiven.

Now get up, you are healed, get up. And you may walk. And all of a sudden, you know, people were like the Pharisees and they were murmuring like, who is this man? Who is he? That he can forgive sins. Right? Because we know the story. We know as the man, he, the paralytic man, he gets up and he walks away. But what, it was like more profound about the story. Isn’t the actual physical healing. But the fact that his sins were forgiven and the fact that only God himself has the power to forgive sins. Right? And so these people were like, who is this man that he is like, declaring himself equal with God. Like he can forgive the sins of people and obviously bring them great healing. Like there’s not a coincidence that this whole story revolves around reconciliation, the forgiveness of sins, and healing.

It’s so incredibly powerful. And yet this is, what’s so incredible about God and how he works and how he allows us to also participate in this extraordinary gift of healing. So we know that every time we go to the sacrament of reconciliation, that we know that our sin, causes pain, it causes division. It causes separation from ourselves, from others and God that’s what sin does. Sin breaks the relationship. It creates brokenness in our world and our hearts in our relationship with God. But we know that it’s forgiveness, it’s reconciliation and it’s God’s mercy that restores that. So every time we go to confession, we get to experience the sacrament of healing. That’s what happens. We restore our relationship with him in such a profound way that we experience undoubtedly spiritual healing. But we also get to experience in many ways, emotional healing, physical healing, sometimes, and even like mental healing, like the God allows our memories to be healed our memories, to be restored.

Our thoughts, all of it, get put back in their right order. And this is the power of reconciliation. This is the power of God’s mercy. And when we participate in the act of, for forgiveness and the act of forgiving someone in a very real and in a very profound way, and it’s only through the grace of God, working through us, that we too get to participate in this restorative act in this act that with the grace of God brings about healing and restoration for other people. My sisters in Christ. I don’t know if you can hear this in my voice, but I’m holding back tears because just the thought of it is enough to just make me be in awe that we have a God that, that loves us not only enough, wanna bring healing to our own lives, but he allows us to be able to extend that same kind of healing grace, to other people, even to those who have heard us greatly, who are we, that we’ve been given the dignity to be able to do such a thing, God is so good.

And that we even with his strength, have the power and the ability to do this, whether or not someone deserves it, whether or not they’ve asked for it, whether they’ve maybe whether or not they’re even possibly still alive like we can still forgive them. And when we do healing happens in a powerful, powerful way, it happens for them. And it most certainly happens for us. My sisters in Christ, we are stepping into 2022 for me at the beginning of the new year. There’s always this great sense of hope. And yet I’ve felt a little bit of that hope diminished because really the last several years, we’ve all kind of, I, or at least myself, I’ve had this great anticipation that, oh my gosh, I can’t wait for 2020 to happen. And then look at what happens and then we’re like, okay, I can’t wait for 2021 in like 20, 21.

And then all of a sudden 2021 happened and a lot of not-so-great things happened in 2021. And so I know that all of us probably feel a little bit of trepidation as we step into 20, like 20, 22. It’s very easy to look at this world and to be jaded by its darkness. There is so much pain in this world. There is so much darkness and all of that pain and all of that darkness has come as a great result of sin, of sin, of brokenness, of people in their fear and in their own hurt, causing greater hurt. We have pain and brokenness in our families, in our marriages, in our communities, in our schools, in our churches, in our country, and in our world. It’s so very easy to see the darkness, the pain. And it’s so easy to just hold on and we wanna blame.

And we wanna look at all of this pain and, and hold on the anger and the resentment. And we just want people to be punished for it. And we want people to pay for it. And we want revenge. Sometimes we just, we just perpetuate and perpetuate the pain and the brokenness, and then it comes out in our own lives and it comes out in our own relationships. Like that’s what the whole, like, that’s what unforgiveness does. It just perpetuates the hurt and the pain. And yet every time we go and every time we say, Lord, please gimme the grace. Like gimme the grace to forgive this person who has hurt me, man, in that moment, when we get to that place where we can let go of that anger and let go of the resentment, and we can just give it over to God and say, God, you do with, with this, what you want. But I, I wanna be, I, I wanna be able to see beyond the injury that this person caused me to see that this person is your, a love its son or daughter. And that I desire for them only the best, which is you and your love and your mercy for them in their lives. However, you see fit because Lord, I wanna be in heaven with them forever.

When we do that, what we do is in a, in a very profound and yet, sometimes it’s small, but yet still so profound way healing happens. This, the darkness of this world gets a little bit brighter. God is capable of restoring something at that moment that we might not even know or see until we get to heaven. And then we see, wow, look at what you did with that. God, how beautiful is that? So here we are, we are called and we are invited to be able to participate in the work of God. And I think it is so profound that even in this time where we live in such darkness and we see so much pain and we see so much anger and hatred and all of it as a result of sin and as a result, in many cases of unforgiveness and on repentance, we can look to some of the greatest saints in the church that God has given us in these times.

And I am speaking right now of St. Fuina and John Paul II, who just not long ago like there is no doubt in my mind that God knew we needed them in the 20th century because we would be facing a world that was so in need of God’s mercy. And so we have it. What is the answer to all this pain and all the brokenness? What is the antidote for all of it? God and his mercy, his divine mercy, and we, you and I, can be deliverers of that mercy when we pray. And when we extend it to others, God knew that in these darkest of times, he would be raising up the greatest of saints. St. Fuina is one of them St. John Paul, second St. Maxilla Colby. So many St St. Maria Grete, but also my sister in Christ, he is called you. And he has called

Me to rise up against the darkness and to bring his light of healing to a world that needs it more than anything else. Please know my sister in Christ, that I’m praying for you right now in this moment. And I will continue to pray for you that if there is someone that you need to forgive or that you want to forgive, or, you know, okay, God, please gimme the grace. I need to forgive this person. It’s it’s time. It’s time to let this go. It’s time. Oh, Lord. I need your healing. And my, and they probably need your healing and theirs. Just please know, I know it’s not easy, but please know that I’m praying for you. And please remember mama that you are made for greatness. God bless you. I love you. God loves you. I’ll talk to you soon.