Thick or Thin?

Thick or Thin?

Forgiveness is one of those things that is so much easier to talk about than to do. In my own life, as a young wife and mother, even though I loved God and wanted to extend his grace to others, often little irritations or slights occurred (I felt excluded; I didn’t feel appreciated; someone else took credit for my idea), and suddenly I would feel hurt at my core, personally affronted, taken by surprise–and instead of being an agent of healing, I nursed my grievances. Finally someone much older and wiser than me took me aside and gently said, “You are thin-skinned; you need to develop a thicker skin.” That opened my eyes, and though it didn’t happen overnight, I did develop a thicker skin (not too thick, I hope). And from that stronger inner place, I found the ability to let go and extend forgiveness.

In a wonderful new book by two very gifted authors, Teresa Tomeo and Cheryl Dickow, forgiveness is one of the gifts God gives women (Wrapped Up: God’s Ten Gifts for Women, Servant, August 2012). Yes! It’s a gift from God, it’s one we extend to others, and it’s one we give ourselves. Here are two of the takeaways from Teresa and Cheryl, one timeless and one timely:

Timeless Takeaway
In the freedom of my own new beginnings,
I extend forgiveness to others quickly and easily.

Timely Takeaway
I open my heart wide to receive the gift of God’s forgiveness,
and I courageously forgive those who have hurt me.

An upcoming offering from another talented author, Genevieve Kineke, covers the subject of forgiveness in more detail. Set Free: The Authentic Catholic Guide to Forgiveness shows women how they can move past both the traumatic and the trivial events in their lives in order fully embrace their vocation to love.

How have you been able to extend the grace of forgiveness to someone else?

When have you experienced the grace of being forgiven by someone?

Featured photo: PhotoXpress/SaintFlame


About the Author

Claudia Volkman is a director of product development for Servant Books. She and her husband, Scott, live in Florida, where she enjoys walking, knitting, and spending time with her Corgis.
  • Vanessa Pacheco

    Timeless Takeaway – it’s true…but what and how can I even begin to forgive those who have hurt me, continue to do so through my children and the constant fear they will attack again? By this I mean using third parties, slander, or even physical? I guess what hurts more, is not what they have done to me directly, but that my children still have to have contact with those people and that they emotionally and psychologically hurt them.

    • Claudia

      I’m sorry for the lateness of my reply – I just realized I had a comment! I asked Genevieve Kineke to help me answer your question. She gave me some words: If your children are underage, you can take steps to make sure they are not in harms way. Often we think we cannot end relationships (esp. family) but we can, and often are obliged to do so. If they are old enough, your children have to be reminded to forgive, too, and then allowed to choose whether they are strong enough to remain in unpleasant relationships.

      It begins by forgiving one thing; then another; then another — specifically, by name, with an act of the will. Then comes confession, and the grace to make more prudent decisions. God firmly intends that you not be a victim, living in fear and pain. There is evil in the world — we need to name it, face it, and deal with it.

      I hope this helps!