God’s Forgiveness Is Infinite And Counseling Should Emphasize That“Lord forgive them for they know not what they do” echo in history as the most merciful prayer a man can give to his persecutors. Of course, Christ was not only man, but also God. From these words, we can conclude the mercy of Christ is beyond the depths of the sea and more infinite than the stars of the night sky.
The whole of the Trinity and within in each distinct person exists a perfect love that emits forgiveness for any who seek it. The history of God’s forgiveness is traced through the Torah as God forgives Adam to the last days of Israel. His forgiveness only needed to be sought to be found.
In the New Testament, the 2nd Person becomes flesh not only to love us more intimately but to redeem us from sin. Not only does God forgive us for our sins but sacrifices himself on the cross via Christ. This is beyond forgiving but actually suffering the offense that one forgives.
Hence it is a great insult to our Lord when one falls into the depths of despair and hides from God’s love. Yes the shame and guilt of hurting someone we love should sadden our heart. It should also make us feel extremely guilty that our sins have slapped Christ in the face. Yet despair, especially that of Judas, insults the great mercy Christ has for his children. Instead, no matter our offense, we should seek contrition and forgiveness as Peter did, weeping bitterly yet understanding the infinite depth of mercy Christ has for us. In time, we too will be able to offer up reparation for the one we love so greatly, Jesus.
When dealing with those in despair it is important to note that these poor souls are truly saddened by their sin but their sadness prevents them from seeing the love of God. Whether it is pride to seek forgiveness, lack of self-worth, or lack of hope in God, one must realize that the whispers of Satan are preventing them from finding reconciliation with God. Religious counselors should work through this psychological barrier and open the hearts of those in despair to Christ’s mercy.
In place of the deceiver’s whispers, Certified Biblical Counselors and Christian counselors should remind people of God’s great love in the story of the Prodigal Son or the mercy Christ offers in Reconciliation to those who seek his mercy and love. The reality of God’s love is so simply yet terrifying. As creatures, God invites us into his heavenly palace. There we should tremble before the Creator of the Universe, yet in the same breathe, our Heavenly Creator greets us as a loving father who allows us to run and play in his Imperial Palace without fear of rebuke. How wonderful to know that such a powerful being is also so merciful and giving!
One prayer that is extremely beneficial for those who seek mercy is the Chaplet of Mercy. In a vision, Christ recommended that during the hour of his passion, 3 PM, that this prayer be recited by the faithful. Christ proclaimed in this vision that he is a God of great compassion and mercy and he is most willing to bestow his mercy upon any who comes before him. As a God that is all powerful, he is also all forgiving and as his power is unlimited, so is his forgiveness.
In the Chaplet of Mercy, this beautiful prayer is recited:
“Our Eternal Father, we offer the body and blood, soul and divinity, of Your dearly beloved Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and the sins of the world”.
Following this is a repetitive prayer that is recited over fifty times. This prayer simply recycles the phrase, “For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world”.
During the vision, Christ warned that during this period of time his mercy is free flowing for all, but one day he will return as a God of judgment. He implored that we all take advantage of his great love for us.
In conclusion, I would like to share a story that I feel should overwhelm one in understanding the mercy, love and forgiveness Christ has for one. The legend says that St Peter upon escaping the prison of Rome was fleeing the city to its outskirts when he came upon a vision of his Master, Jesus. Christ told Peter that he needed to return to Rome and face his martyrdom. If he did not, Christ said he himself would again be crucified for his people. As the story concludes, Peter immediately returned to Rome and was crucified upside down since he felt unworthy to be crucified as his Master was. Whether this apparition was legend or fact, it does portray the truth that Christ’s love is so great and his forgiveness so infinite that he would do anything for us. In this regard, one should find greater shame in despair than in the sin that we committed. Through this love and mercy, we in turn should seek to avoid sin at all costs.
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Mark Moran, MA, GC-C, SCC-C