First go and be reconciled with your brother; then come and offer your gift. — Matthew 5:24
At a church potluck awhile ago, older parishioners were asked to share childhood memories to help us younger parents strengthen our families. An elderly Greek lady, Helen, told us that every Saturday evening her family had prayed special prayers ending the week and starting the new one. Most importantly, they asked forgiveness of each other and their Father. “Only then did I feel ready to go to church the next day,” Helen said.
Their Saturday ritual seemed only an interesting old custom until a few weeks later, when our family attended the Liturgy at a Romanian Orthodox monastery in southern Michigan. During the Liturgy, the clergy embrace and ask forgiveness of each other, then bow to the congregation, asking the people to forgive them. When they had finished doing this, the woman in front of me turned to the lady next to her and whispered, “Forgive me, Mom.” Her mom asked her for forgiveness in turn, and they hugged each other. Then, before receiving Holy Communion, I noticed each nun go to the abbess, bow and ask forgiveness, then turn and bow to all the other nuns.
Looking at my husband Alex across the heads of our children, I mouthed the words, “Forgive me.” “I do. Forgive me, too,” he whispered.
We reached behind the kids and gave each other’s hand a squeeze. Now, before our family receives Communion each Sunday, we ask each other’s forgiveness. Sometimes we think of specifics, such as “Forgive me for losing my temper and shouting at you,” or “Forgive me for not doing what you asked right away.” At other times, nothing definite comes to mind, but we ask pardon for any ways we’ve wronged or failed each other, knowingly or unknowingly, and seal our reconciliation with a big hug. Cleansed of the past week’s failures or irritations, we are renewed to start fresh another week, “fighting the good fight of the faith.”
Father, before I worship You today, help me be at peace with everyone. — Mary Brown
Excerpted with permission from Daily Guideposts 365 Spirit-Lifting Devotions for Women, copyright Guideposts.
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Isn’t that a beautiful practice? Apologies are important. Peace in the family is invaluable. Let’s ask for forgiveness this week from our loved ones so we can start fresh. Come share your thoughts with us on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily