We sometimes hold on to unforgiveness too long. Whether or not it's the Lenten season, we can "detox" from sin and purge unforgiveness.
I remember a conversation I had with a woman who had gone through a divorce. Her husband was an unrepentant sex addict who felt no need for transformation. He was abusive. She had divorced him four years prior to our conversation. As she spoke, I could see she was still in shock.
Her question: ”Jackie, how do I forgive him?” UGH! It was late and the restaurant we were at was closing. How do I quickly synthesize forgiveness? I asked her, “Do you observe Lent?” “No.” She replied.
Then, I shared how I too was holding on to some unforgiveness and how I longed for the Lenten season because it was a focused time of detoxing from sin.
I didn’t have time to adequately walk this woman through the conversation of Lent or forgiveness. But I did share how I was reading Psalm 51 and the Litany of Penitence everyday for forty days. My desire is for God to do a work in me, to purge unforgiveness out of me.
So this is for that woman, if you’re reading, here’s the Litany of Penitence I’m saying every day. May the Lord use it to purge from us this sin that is choking us.
Most holy and merciful Father: I confess to you and to one another, and to the whole communion of saints in heaven and on earth, that I have sinned by my own fault in thought, word, and deed: by what I have done, and by what I have left undone.
I have not loved you with my whole heart, and mind, and strength. I have not loved my neighbor as myself. I have not forgiven others, as I have been forgiven.
I have been deaf to your call to serve, as Christ served me. I have not been true to the mind of Christ. I have grieved the Holy Spirit.
Have mercy on me, Lord.
I confess to you, Lord, all my past unfaithfulness: the pride, hypocrisy, and impatience of my life.
My self-indulgent appetites and ways, and my exploitation of other people.
My anger at my own frustration, and my envy of those more fortunate than myself.
My intemperate love of worldly goods and comforts, and my dishonesty in daily life and work.
My negligence in prayer and worship, and my failure to commend the faith that is in me.
Accept my repentance, Lord, for the wrongs I have done: for my blindness to human need and suffering, and my indifference to injustice and cruelty.
For all false judgments, for uncharitable thoughts towards my neighbors, and for my prejudice and contempt toward those who differ from me.
For my waste and pollution of your creation, and my lack of concern for those who come after me.
Restore me, good Lord, and let your anger depart from me;
Accomplish in me the work of your salvation, by the cross and passion of your Son our Lord.