“All grace flows from mercy, and the last hour abounds with mercy for us. Let no one doubt concerning the goodness of God; even if a person’s sins were as dark as night, God’s mercy is stronger than our misery. One thing alone is necessary; that the sinner set ajar the door of his heart, be it ever so little, to let in a ray of God’s merciful grace, and then God will do the rest.”The Diary of St Maria Faustina Kowalska (1507)
Have you ever been upset with someone, so angry that you just want to hold on to it as long as you can? I’m sure many of us felt this way about our siblings from time to time when they did something that would inflict pain and hurt.
About a week ago, I watched both of my girls treat each other with very little respect out of anger for one another over the simplest initiating event. I learned something from my family counsellor that works very well but is the most difficult thing to do… make everyone surrender electronics and gather until apologies and resolutions are achieved. One person is allowed to speak at a time and mom is the mediator, creating a safe space to express feelings from both parties on how they hurt each other based their words and/or actions. This process can be like watching paint dry. As we gather, you can feel the air begin to close in the room and the tension blazing. For the first 10 minutes or so, there is total silence. Once the first word exits, the flood gates are totally open and the hurtful feelings are expressed. Many tears are often shed. As painful as this is to watch as a mother, it is a beautiful process that unfolds. At the end of the 45 – 60 minute session, smiles and laughter emerge. The tension leaves the room and the air breathes freely. I remember the first time I tried this method. Five to ten minutes into it, I literally thought I was going to die due to the tension and lack of air in the room. I thought my counsellor had no clue what she had suggested. As I watched the process emerge, I was amazed. If I had not done this, my girls would have been upset all night and that tension would have been in the entire house until the next day. Likely there wouldn’t have been any resolution either and the next event may have been escalated even more. What I saw was the beauty of mercy, resolution and RECONCILIATION.
I think this painted a good picture for me on how when our hearts are open, just the slightest, we allow “God’s merciful grace” to shine in, taking care of the infliction we suffer with from conflict.
How many times do you struggle to go to reconciliation? Harbor anger? Allow pain and anger to linger for days, weeks, month, years?
Reconciling conflict, pain, wrong doings can be torturous. Have you ever gone to the confessional and began to sweat or hyperventilate as you prepared yourself in line as you waited? What about when you had to face the person you responded in an ill manner towards and you hear how your words or actions hurt him/her? What about expressing your own feelings of hurt to someone who did something to you out of anger or resentment?
How do you feel when you have gone to confession or sat with God in prayer seeking His mercy and forgiveness? Gone to the person you have conflict with and sat there until feelings were known, acknowledged and resolved?
It seems so easy to place our anger, resentment and pain in a little box in our hearts than it is to come to grips with and seek resolution. There is great beauty through “God’s merciful grace”. If we face conflict or even our sin early on, we are freed from the tension and the lack of air, allowing joy to rest in the room of our soul, instead of the anger in the box that is just waiting to be released any moment.
We were created to engage lovingly in relationships, not painfully. God wants us each to be free to love one another, to not harvest anger, resentment and pain. He wants us to embrace each other as He embraces us. Reconciliation is a process where God sheds His grace by working through the effects of the circumstance. A torturous hour is better than a lifetime of bondage that affects key relationships in your life but most importantly your heart and your relationship with God.
If you are harboring anger or resentment towards someone, I invite you to pray for God to help you in resolving that conflict through a reconciliation FACE DOWN – or may be just a talk where you are both allowed to safely express your feelings.