Forgiveness: Good to the Last Drop
Two things that keep this lady ticking: Jesus & Coffee. It’s how I start every morning: a cup of Maxwell House and time with Jesus. One fills my corporal need for caffeine, the Other filling my heart with love. As I take out my coffee, the words on the Maxwell House can strike me as I am preparing my java to accompany my morning prayer: “Good to the last drop.”
As I went to prayer this morning, I brought to the Lord a sorrowful heart, a heart that had been wounded by some individuals that I’m close to. As I looked up at the image of Divine Mercy that hangs in my living room, I look upon the Blood and Water flowing from Jesus side, and I hear those words beckoning from His pierced side…”good to the Last Drop.”
Jesus was trying to teach me about forgiveness, and what it should look like. We are called to forgive as He forgives. “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”-Colossians 3:13
“Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” And how does He forgive? He gave every SINGLE drop of His Blood for the forgiveness of our sins. He didn’t endure the scourging and say, “Okay, that’s enough for the forgiveness of sins.” His forgiveness was a total self-emptying. It was humiliating, it was exhausting, it was every last ounce of forgiveness He could give. It was forgiveness until the very end, where it literally poured out of Him. After He had offered up His spirit, He gave the Divine Mercy, still offering forgiveness at the last moment…it was good to the very last drop.
Sometimes when we hurt others, if intentionally or unintentionally, asking the Lord for the humility to be able to apologize and ask for forgiveness is an important step in spiritual growth. At the Cross, we see one prisoner next to Jesus, St. Dismas, asking for forgiveness. This was a humbling thing for him to do. He recognized his sins before God. Jesus promises him paradise that very day. The other prisoner, turning his back on Jesus and staying in his pride, and locks the door to hell from the inside. This scene shows us that forgiveness and mercy are keys to the heavenly kingdom. In our Catholic faith, we are given the gift of Confession to humble ourselves and cry out to the Lord for mercy.
Confession is the espresso of forgiveness. Just go with my coffee analogy again for a minute. If we're speaking of coffee, it doesn't get any stronger than espresso. It's a pure shot of supercharged caffeine. When we're speaking of forgiveness, it doesn't get anymore powerful than confession.
Confession, like espresso, is the shot of grace we need to wake up our souls to fight the evils of sin. Confession is pure, powerful and fills our souls with abundant grace. The Confessional is where, “...the misery of the soul meets the God of Mercy.” Diary of St. Faustina 1602. It is not the priest, but Jesus, Himself acting through the priest who forgives us. JESUS is there absolving you. If that doesn't give you a rush, no amount of espresso can help you! When we walk out of the Confessional, our souls are awakened and we are made new. Because of our human nature though, we will fall again. It's hard work, but worth every ounce of effort we have to give.
Forgiveness can be exhausting, especially in regards to family or close friends. Jesus gives us the command to forgive our enemies, as if that is the hardest thing to do. I sometimes come to find that it is harder to forgive the wounds inflicted upon us by those we love than those from whom I am not close with. With loved ones, the wounds cut deeper. The pain is harder to just get over or ignore. However, when we are asked for forgiveness, we need to be able to give it as Jesus gave, completely and without reserve. Holding grudges against our friends, spouses or children for past hurts closes our heart off to the forgiveness that Christ gave to us as a model. We pray in the Our Father, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us.” If we are asking God to extend His mercy to us, are we doing the same to those who have hurt us?
I’m sure that many of us have heard the phrase at one time or another, “To err is human, to forgive divine.” This phrase, by Alexander Pope gets to the heart of forgiveness. Because of our human nature, we will sin. We will cause hurt, and be hurt by others. To stay angry, bitter, or resentful is to stay in our misery and to block out mercy. Forgiveness, and mercy are the things of heaven. Both by giving forgiveness and asking for it, we are allowing the ultimate sacrifice of Christ on the Cross to be before our eyes. Nothing bad can come from forgiveness. We are defeating death, the devil, and the powers of hell when we utter these simple but powerful words, “I forgive you” or “Do you forgive me?” Let our forgiveness be as Christ’s… good until the last drop.
“So watch yourselves. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”-Luke 17:3-4
Written by Jennifer Nelson. Jennifer lives in New Jersey with her husband and kids. When not homeschooling, playing trucks or working on projects for their family ministry (A Divine Mercy Encounter) she is most likely longing for a nap or some form of coffee or chocolate. You can follow and find out more about her family ministry here