[Editor’s note: The author explains her family’s Lenten commitment to take the Love Dare here . Regular updates will be posted all through Lent. Click here to catch up on previous posts. Due to CE staff scheduling, we will not be able to keep up with these posts daily, but we will make sure they are all posted, even though it means they run past Lent. ]
We are called to forgive and ask for forgiveness.“What I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ ” (2 Corinthians 2:10)
“When you judge another, you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the same things ” (Romans 2:1).
We combined these dares with a special ceremony. Each person divided a paper in two and wrote something someone had done to hurt them on one side and something they had done to hurt another on the other side. We tore off the thing someone had done to hurt us and placed it into a bowl, then we burned them and vowed to let go of past hurts.
Then we continued by reading the thing we were sorry for to the person we had hurt and asked for forgiveness. We have always had the rule in our home, that if someone says, “I’m sorry,” the response can not be, “It’s okay,” because it is not okay to hurt. The response must be, “I forgive you.”
This dare had a tremendous effect on all of us. We felt it was important to combine the two because the Our Father states, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” We wanted to look at both sides of this.
This exercise had one amazing outcome. My son apologized for something that he had done months ago to hurt his dad. My husband then confessed that the very thing my son apologized for was the thing he had written down and burned. They both had tears in their eyes as they recognized the anger and pain they had just released.
Maybe the saying that, “Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself,” isn’t entirely true. Offering and accepting forgiveness heals all involved. It is a gift you can give someone you love.
Lord, teach us to live the words in the Our Father and to forgive the same way we wish to be forgiven.