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Diary of a Ghetto Priest | We must forgive ourselves

Published:Friday | November 9, 2018 | 12:00 AMFr Richard Ho Lung
Father Ho Lung and residents singing and praising God for His goodness at Good Shepherd Home.

"You must not look into the eye of the serpent for too long. He will mesmerise you, and he will strike you." That's a loose translation of a T.S. Eliot sentiment that I cannot locate. But it is important for discussion and shaping our attitude to life.

I don't believe that anyone can concentrate on negativity and criticism of sin for too long. This is why Jesus came to Earth and lifted the burden of sin for all of us. We must look at our sins for a while, truly regret them, as best as possible put them aside, and, move forward. But to be mesmerised by our sins, and to wallow in guilt is not good.

We must allow the Lord to forgive our sins, and we ourselves should forgive ourselves and others for what wrong has been done, then move forward.




That is the great lesson to learn from Jesus' treatment of Mary Magdalene and the scribes and Pharisees. Yes, you have sinned. You have committed adultery. But you are forgiven. You have loved much; sin no more. You must go forward and continue to love even more, but sin no more (John 8:11). As for the scribes and Pharisees who condemned her and even Jesus for forgiving her sins, "Those of who are without sin: cast the first stone." (John 8:7)

Let us not keep gazing at our sins. Let us admit them and let God and others forgive them. Move forward! We don't want to live in condemnation and beat our chests for too long. There are too many good things to do in building the kingdom of God.

The worst response to sin and hurt is to not forgive others and ourselves. All of us who have been offended need to forgive others. It is human to sin, divine to forgive. None of us is without sin.

I really believe that we will cripple others and be crippled if we do not forgive and are not forgiven for our wrong.

Jesus was sinless. But He took on to Himself every criticism and even the guilt of other people. "I am guilty," he seemed to say. He ate with tax collectors and prostitutes. He broke the Sabbath to heal others and hung on the cross between murderers. He was constantly talking with hypocrites and Samaritans and those who betrayed and even condemned Him.

How good you are, Lord! How faithful! Adultery, pride, covetousness, jealousy, envy, sloth, anger - all those passions and sins we have, He'll take them on. He took the initiative to forgive them.

I forgive you! I forgive you! I forgive you! What joy! What happiness! The Lord loves me and wants me to continue to serve Him! I could weep, I could cry with joy!

Jesus looks at us positively, even when we have sinned, and rejects those who condemn those who err or who have sinned.