Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Let Go. Let God.

Wrath and anger are hateful things,
yet the sinner hugs them tight.
- Sirach 27:30
Why do we hold on to things that hurt us? Things like anger, jealousy, and bad habits? Maybe it's because we are just so used to those feelings and behaviors. They are familiar, and familiar things can be comforting, even when they make us feel bad. But of course, often these things actually make us feel good. At least for a while. In the end, though, they wear us down, leaving us frustrated, hurting and empty. So again, why do we hold on to them?

Because giving things up is hard. Especially things we've grown accustomed to, things we've become dependent on. And bad behaviors and attitudes are the hardest of all to give up. When someone does something thoughtless to us, it's easy to become angry at them, to think or say bad things about them, to wish them their own misfortune. It's much harder to react with a smile, to consider why they acted as they did, and to pray for them. If a friend just bought a beautiful new house and is pregnant with her fifth child, while you are stuck in a rented apartment and long for just one sibling for your only child, it's easy to become envious. It's easy to spend your time wishing you have what she has. It's harder to remember and be grateful for what you do have, a roof over your head and a child who loves you.

While giving up our bad habits, attitudes and behaviors is hard, it must be done. Sirach goes on to say:

Could anyone nourish anger against another
and expect healing from the LORD?
- Sirach 28:3
If our hearts are full of anger, envy and resentment, there is no room left for God's grace, mercy and healing. At mass each week we pray, "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us." We're being hypocritical if we ask God to forgive us for all the things we do wrong if we're not acting the same way towards others.

Holding on to things that hurt us is easy, but destructive. Giving these things up is hard, but life-giving. God will help you, but you have to make room for Him first.


  1. I take this one home. I'm having a real challenge forgiving a person who has wronged me. It's a cancer I'm harboring and I need to let it go.

  2. We all hold on to things we shouldn't. Only God can help us let them go :)