By: Brigid Curtis Ayer
Carmel — Forgiveness is something Christians are called to do. When Jesus was asked how often must a person forgive, his answer– “70 times seven.” Scripture scholars do not surmise the answer is 490, but rather that Jesus wants us to forgive a lot, or some suggest, infinitely.
But when a person is wounded by another, sometimes forgiveness doesn’t come easy said Eric Gudan, Ph.D. in Psychology, during a recent, presentation at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel on the topic of Finding Healing Through Forgiveness.
As the presentation title suggests, when a person forgives, they are set free from the mental and physical toll that unforgiveness causes. Gudan, a licensed clinical psychologist and health service provider at Integritas Psychological Services in Indianapolis, said that in therapy, the goal is to remove impediments to having authentic relationships.
Gudan provided a road map for the group to navigate forgiveness including a four-phase model. He said a large part of his work involves helping people forgive others and recover from the wounds they have incurred. Gudan offered a quote to reflect on from Pope Francis.
Mysterious Freedom Gained by Forgiveness
Forgiveness is a mysteriously freeing action both on the giving and receiving end. I think about my own capacity to forgive and to receive forgiveness. It’s a challenge at times!
How often do we rewrite the parable of the Prodigal Son to fit it into our narrow perception of God and His mercy? Maybe it’s hard for us to accept that God really means what He says when we listen to the words of Jesus, “I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10).