Everything Happens For a Reason: Forgiveness and the Nature of Man
Last night, I was leading a discussion on St. Augustine. As most of you know, St. Augustine was a person who experimented with sex and alcohol before eventually repenting, becoming part of the Church, and becoming one of the most prominent priests and later bishop that we have ever seen. The main point that I want to discuss tonight is a very basic one, though an often forgotten one.
Our Sins will always be forgiven by God, so long as we are truly sorry.
What does it mean to be sorry? The 2006 movie Just Friends (aside from being the story of my life) presents the character of Samantha James, a cross between Britney Spears and any other crazy, whacked out (possibly cracked out) superstar of the late 90s and early 2000s. Now, Samantha James and her character have absolutely nothing to do with my post (but everything at the same time…HA!), but she did say something in her completely ridiculous song, “Forgiveness,” whose Youtube video is attached here (I hope… I’m only a few steps above an Amish farmer when it comes to computers and electronics.) Anyway, one line really stands out from the song… “Forgiveness is more than saying sorry.”
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO TRULY BE SORRY ABOUT SOMETHING?
Being truly sorry about something you have done is a relationship solely between you and God. Only God will know whether or not you are truly sorry; you might not even know it if you are. However, the ever-present God who has placed us on this Earth with a purpose that we must discover over time knows us inside and outside. He knows when we do something wrong, why we do something wrong, and whether or not we are truly sorry. Think about it… how many times have you said sorry to someone only to save face. “I’m sorry I called your girlfriend a slut, it was wrong and I didn’t mean it.” Meanwhile, inside your mind, you’re saying “I’m really sorry that you’re still dating that slut.”
When (not if) you do something wrong, repenting involves reflecting. Think about these simple questions (adapted from my own philosophy on Elementary Classroom Management… but it applies here):
- What is the action that was wrong?
- Why did I do this?
- How is this action wrong?
- When I am faced with a similar situation, why won’t I repeat this action?
The following is a question that one of my students posed to me last night. I thought it was really mature, and I am interested in your thoughts. In our discussion about sin and forgiveness of sin, twists were taken that I honestly didn’t think would be. When someone wrongs us, we are often told that “everything happens for a reason,” that some friends are not the person you thought they were, and that you’ll be a stronger person because of it. During the discussions, the following questions were asked, and I’m going to allow opportunity for you, the reader, to reflect on these questions and provide responses
- They say that “everything happens for a reason.” Well, is that really an excuse for the actions that someone takes?
- What about “free will?” If God created us to all be good people, and “everything happens for a reason,” what is the role of “free will?” If everything happens for a reason, are we really free?