Best of DTB #269 Forgiveness: A How To and a Why To

Posted by John Benko - September 8th, 2013

This is Christie and I’m once again writing about the Apologetics you do with your life, the kind that comes out by living your Christian Life, and the type of evangelization you do by action, rather than by bullet points.

If you’re having trouble forgiving someone, you know that your life keeps circling back to that person and their actions. You can’t keep yourself from discussing it, from thinking of it, from using that period as the go-to excuse for failures that truly have nothing directly to do with that situation. How do I know this? I have been there, circling that same drain.

Not forgiving someone is a trap. It makes that moment in time, that person the center of your life. You never, ever move on. If you don’t move on, you don’t ever get away from it.

You are still right there in that Hell.

To Be Crass…
Don’t let crap rule your life.
Deal with it and move on.

It’s in your best interests to forgive. It doesn’t mean that what happened was right or good or anything. It just means that you are ready to set that person free from your desire to personally witness justice. You’ll let God deal with that situation and that person.

Forgiveness is an admission that you are not in control,
You aren’t now and you weren’t then,
And you’re moving on because
There is only one thing
You can actually

Forgiveness gets you out of the mess you were in. Finally. It gets you out mentally and emotionally. You get to finally be free.

Freedom! I highly recommend it.

So, here’s the deal. If you find it hard to forgive, let me let you in on the Great Big Secret. Forgiveness is not a feeling. It’s not a once and for all type of thing. It’s a decision. You make it every time you are tempted to dwell on that person, that moment, that perfectly justifiable anger.

Here’s how it works. You think of that person and you say, “Okay, that was bad, but I forgive it.” Then you give yourself permission to think of something else. When your thoughts drift back you get to tell your thoughts, “Been there, done that. There’s no more fruit here. I’ve forgiven.”

It’s that simple. It’s a process. At first it’s simply that: a mental action that you decide to make. After a period of time–days, weeks, months, years, or decades–you will find that this little mental ritual will not be necessary quite so often. If you had to struggle to think of anything else at first, then three times a day after a year or so is an improvement.

Here’s the other thing. Some people with certain temperaments do have an easier time with this process. It’s true. It’s harder for you.

How do I know that? Because you’re the type who reads this type of thing. You’re like me: you need to learn people stuff. I’ve always needed Human Lessons. It’s why I can write about it. Someone taught me or I went out and did what you’re doing. I looked it up. There are those who seem born knowing this stuff. Not me. Not you either.

Life’s complicated. People can wreck a person. It’s tough going, for sure.

Just keep in mind that Christ told us we are to forgive someone 70 times 7 times. I’d always assumed that he meant to forgive someone every time they did something wrong. Now that I’m in the cycle of forgiveness I get it. He means sometimes you have to forgive a person that many times for just one bad moment. He’s talking process here.

I hope you get it. Your life is worth the trouble it takes to forgive. In fact, you will only get your life back once you forgive.

Moment by blessed moment.

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The Catholic Defender Riding At Fort Campbell

Posted by John Benko - August 27th, 2013

This past week I had the opportunity to visit family at Fort Campbell Ky that had several highlights.

Obviously, taking a group out on the trail on horseback was a lot of fun.

Fort Campbell is a very special place to go horseback riding, there are lots of sites to see along the trail.

There were deer that had no fear for humans in this area.  They just kind of lay there as we pass by.  It is as if they are thinking, “humans” and shrug their shoulders.

Riding horseback really has a therapeutic feel to it, it is a lot of fun if you have this kind of interest.  These horses are very well trained and they do this every day.

Clare is my three year old birthday girl here cheering on the local high school team right after scoring a touchdown.

We would win this game 42 to 0 in a complete rout.  As a spectator in the stands with my Granddaughter, that was good.

We are breaking her in right watching football.  This was a lot of fun.  Now, she had her birthday party at Chucky-Cheeze, that was good to.

Visiting the Grandchildren was very important to me and I think we created a lot of memories that were positive.

We certainly made the most of each day.  We did watch some TV at night, they loved the movie, “Secretariat” that I brought with me.  I also brought a good movie called “Home Run” about a baseball player who overcomes a lot of serious addictions.  I fully recommend these two movies.

It is always great when we get together for music and remember the “good ole days”.

These two began playing together in 1998 when they were 16 and 11 years old.  They continue to play to this day.

They both are in other bands but it is really good to see them continue to have fun putting music together.  What I really like is when they do this for me!

The past few days beginning early August when I went to Colorado to see my Wife Gigi, this has been a very blessed vacation.  I was graced to speak at a Church dedicated in 1913 still in use today.  I loved going on horseback in the Colorado Rocky Mountains and at Fort Campbell and I loved visiting my family at Fort Campbell.

I think that it is very important that we build up the family unit because the attack is growing stronger.  Watching the news just point to this all the time.  Teenagers bored go out to kill someone who happens to be a baseball player from Australia.  Please pray for our Country.

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The Catholic Defender: The Importance Of Forgiving

Posted by John Benko - June 15th, 2013

Our Father who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be thy name;
Thy kingdom come
Thy will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
And forgive us our trespasses
As we forgive those who trespass against us;
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil. 

The Lord’s prayer is the most recognizable prayer that gives the basic tenet of Christian.  “And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”  As simple as this sounds, we all know this is easier said than done.  How easy it is to allow ourselves to let anger set in.  Families are torn a part and friends turn into enemies.

Even with the greatest examples know to man.  Luke 2“Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, they know not what they do”.  Jesus gives a teaching on the importance of forgiveness.  Matthew 18:21:22 states, “Then Peter approaching asked him, ‘Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.” In each one of us there is a part of us that wants to hold onto anger.  This can have serious spiritual, health consequences.  

Catherine Ponder, a prosperity writer, once said, “When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel.  Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.”

Coming from the field of  Psychiatry it is becoming more understood that the affects of not forgiving has potential serious health risks.  Bitter resentments, hatreds can lead to psychosomatic illnesses and disorders that can affect the mind and emotion.  This most certainly can play a tremendous toll on the body.  Healing is not only of the body, but also the mind and spirit.  It is important to forgive your self and others.

John Paul II met with his Turkish terrorist Mehmet Ali Agca, the would-be assassin, in Agca’s prison cell in Rome. I’ll never forget the day when the Pope was shot.  I had seen Pope John Paul II in October 1979 when he was in Chicago.

What a great witness and testimony the Pope gave to all the world, as he imitated the Lord’s forgiveness from the cross.  That is the perfect example.

Christian Author Lewis Smedes said, To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”   

How true this quotation really is.  The only way to be set free is to give the situation to God and let Him take it.  

We are not always strong enough to forgive on our own.  I have counseled people who had terrible things happen to them to give it to God.

Ephesians 1:7 states, “In him we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us.”  Because Jesus died on the cross and His forgiveness is for all, Jesus empowers all of us the power to forgive in his name.

Bryant McGill, a public speaker and activist said, “There is not love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love.”  Without love we really do not gain anything.

First Corinthians 13 is known as the “love” chapter in the Bible.

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.     Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.  For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect;     but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away.  When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways.    For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

The importance of finding strength to confess your sins and allow God to heal you inside and out, to plug the holes.  

To find healing from God, this requires humility and the ability to admit that we have sinned, fallen short.  

We all need God’s help.  Pride is a terrible road block to this, we must subdue our own personal pride and embrace the Lord’s plan of salvation.  To create a clean conscience.  

This is important in making a good Confession.  If Catholics practiced going to Confession, there would be less need for Psychologists.

It is important in our relationships to love unconditionally so that there are no conditions.  I love my wife without reservation.  We choose to forgive without being asked to forgive.  If we are building a foundation that God can build upon, love has to be the major ingredient.

We are to humble ourselves before the Lord, this is important in giving restitution to those we have offended.  To correct wrongs, we will have to be willing to see within ourselves our own limitations.  Matthew 5:23-24 states, “Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”  I have seen this mostly with divorced couples who must wait for their annulment to go through before they can receive the Eucharist.  Sometimes they will come up for a blessing.  What I think is so awesome is when a child receives this blessing.

Many times the problem of forgiveness stems on the fact that we tend to be hardest on ourselves.  I know that I am.  Sometimes people develop a heart of stone because they refuse to face life.  Their hearts grow cold and they do not allow God or anyone else to enter their life deeper than the surface.  How great it is when a person finally goes to Confession and releases the chain they have been making link by link.  At Marriage Encounter, I will never forget the person coming out of the Confessional for the first time in 10 years.  He was in tears as he realized the chains he bore fell to the floor.

The forgiveness of memory is something I have promoted a lot among those I encounter who have had terrible violence happen to them.  Bondage is a terrible place to be, even if it is within our own mind.  Addictions, suicide, false philosophies, drugs and alcohol will certainly bury us deeper and deeper away from what God’s forgiveness offers.  Luke 4:18 states, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”

We are called by virtue of our Baptism and Confirmation to bring the light to the world, to bring Christ to a dark world.  Life is so good to not utilize it for the Glory of God.  To find true happiness is to find yourself within the heart of Christ, His Sacred Heart, where Jesus offers His Divine Mercy.  About forgiving, one of my Facebook friends (Frank) said,When it is “hard” to do so, begin by praying for God’s mercy for yourself and for your “enemy.” (For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.)  That is great advice!

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*BEST OF DTB #236* The Catholic Defender: Repentance, Forgiveness, Penance

Posted by John Benko - December 14th, 2012

In a day when so many people seem to believe you can pick and choose what they believe, that is how “gray” areas are developed.

For every color, they don’t realize their responsible. People treat their faith experience much like a smorgasbord, picking and choosing what they want on their plate.

Does God work that way? Can you just drive down the road to find what ever “fill’s” you?

This outlook on faith is very destructive. The conscience will comfort itself towards the least line of resistance so you can handle the challenge to go to teachers that tickle their ears.

Thus, we have lost the meaning of sin. People will justify their sin regarding nothing of what God thinks. Hebrews 13:7-8 states, “Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever”.

The word of God is nullified when we choose to water it down especially for convenience sake. It’s almost a daily routine talking to people about their faith finding they have not been to Mass for awhile. Does the devil really care why? No, not at all. He knows well that missing Mass due to personal fault is a mortal sin.

It strikes against the first and third commandments specifically and all the commandments in relation to the first three.

The first Commandment is, “I, the Lord, am your God. You shall not have other gods besides me”.

The third Commandment says, “Remember to keep holy the sabbath day”.

Most of the time, I’ll hear someone tell me they want to sleep in, they don’t like going to Mass away from their home Parish.

Sometimes, they don’t go to Mass at all. They have lost the concept of sin. They have surrendered the sovereignty of God for the imposition of authority of man.

They make themselves their own authority and forget their obligation towards God. Many people have lost connection with the Catholic Church and watered themselves down so far as to abandon it for what ever rabbit trail you want to name.

They go to a Methodist church, a Baptist church, a Pentecostal church or you can insert what other name for there are about 33,000 different groups out there competing for the freedom of ideas now.

I have been graced to help many return to the Catholic Faith. I’ve been graced to help many convert to it, what a blessing this is. This is the great call of Christ to reach out to the lost (Matthew 28:16-20, James 5:19-20).

I have often been challenged by some as to how Catholics can bring Jesus to those who do not know him. That is really a great question. It depends on the background of the person I am addressing.

If they are Catholic, just not practicing their faith, I attempt to strengthen the foundations this person may already have.

If they are Protestant, I will point to the scripture and show the relevance of the Church Christ founded. If they are not Christian at all, then I point to Christ through what ever shadow they are coming from.

Many doors have been opened through being available to anyone questioning their faith, those who are seeking faith, or those who are curious about the Faith.

In preaching repentance, we must have an understanding of what they must repent from. A Catholic who has been divorced, remarried, using artificial birth control is different from a non-Catholic who is in the same situation.

This can get complicated and it isn’t easy just telling them they must “repent”. For the Catholic, I would tell them the importance of going to Mass, to speak with the Priest, to initiate the annulment process. I want to get them on the right track.

I’ve worked with people who have been away from the faith 32 years, 26 years 20 years, 15 years, 10 years, 5 years, 1 year, and every other time period in between. Getting them to see the need is important.

For the non-Catholic, I help them understand why the Mass is so important, why the Church is so important.

I have worked with many who want to become Catholic who are willing to submit to the authority of the Church.

That is powerful to me to see people trust in God like that. This humbles me greatly. Helping people get reconciled with God is one of the greatest feelings in this world. Heaven is rejoicing.

To help someone find the Church is equal to that. Forgiveness is the next step for full reconciliation with God through His Church, the Kingdom of God on earth.

For the Catholic, in the state of Grace, a good Confession is all you need.

If someone is working through the process of an annulment, they must wait until this is completed.

If they have really been away along time, they may need RCIA, especially if they have not been Confirmed.

I am finding more and more people who were Baptized Catholic, but that was it. Years later, they want to marry and they run into problems with the Church.

RCIA is the answer to this problem. For Non-Catholics, they enter the RCIA and they participate through the rites and finally, on the Easter Vigil, are fully received into the Church.

I am breaking this down, but each person must speak with the priest or deacon for extended issues.

This is the formality of what needs to be done, but through the entire process (journey) everyone should be asking for God’s direction, his presence, forgiveness everyday. To be faithful to the Church and direction given.

I love the prayer our Lady gave to the Children of Fatima, “Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to heaven, especially of those in most need of thy mercy”.

Maybe something, like “Lord Jesus, have mercy upon me, a sinner”. Or a personal prayer asking for God’s forgiveness.

If your Catholic needing to go to Confession, go! If you are a Baptized Protestant, you will go to confession prior to the Easter Vigil. If you were not Baptized, you will be at the Easter Vigil and all your sins will be washed away at that time.

From then on, Confession I recommend to be a regular spiritual bath or exercise. Finally, once you make a good Confession, receive absolution through the Ministry of the Church (2 Corinthians 5:11-21, 6:1-8), then you are called to penance.

Matthew 3:8 says, “Produce good fruits as evidence of your repentance”.

We are called to do penance, reform our lives through repentance (Acts 2:38). We are all called to be reconciled with God, this is why Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem, why he was crucified on a cross, so that he would rise again and set the captives free.

Here are deepertruth articles on the Sacraments:
Today’s Bible study
Sept 16, while deployed
Authority of the Keys
Anointing of the Sick
Defender defends the Sacraments

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