Rose Folsom shares what she’s doing about a bad habit she just realized she has.
I’m working on curing a bad habit that until yesterday I didn’t even know I had! See if you recognize the same blind spot.
Whenever I do or say something that I see later may have hurt someone (or made me look really stupid), I immediately say, “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.” That’s not the bad part. It’s what comes next that can hold us back spiritually.
Because after I pray that prayer, the thought of the moment of thoughtlessness comes right back to my memory, stronger than ever, and I pray again, “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.” It’s a good prayer to repeat during the day, but here’s the problem: I pray it when the shame comes back again because I don’t realize that “against God alone have I sinned” and have actually received the mercy I asked him for! I just keep praying, and feeling the sting of the mis-step as if God had not heard my prayer.
The funny thing is that after Confession, I have no problem believing that my sins are “forgotten by God” —which is such a great way to think of it! We’ve known “God forgets” ever since Jeremiah foresaw the reign of mercy in Christ:
I will forgive their iniquity and no longer remember their sin. (Jeremiah 31:34)
But our enemy wants us to forget that. And I’ve been falling for the lie.
Here’s what we can do instead. Follow our prayer for mercy with a prayer for guidance on whether He wants to do more healing of this in Confession. Then, end with a prayer of gratitude that He is healing us — that the inexhaustible treasure of mercy won for us on Calvary really floods down on us whenever we simply ask for it.
Then do a happy dance that you’re one step closer to living in the freedom of the children of God!
Copyright 2020 Rose Folsom
Image: Deposit Photos, licensed by author
About the Author
Rose Folsom is founder of VirtueConnection.com, where she helps Catholics get closer to God by discovering how to practice virtues like patience and forgiveness. Join her membership group, Virtue Circle. She’s a convert and Lay Dominican who speaks, blogs, and leads retreats fueled on prayer and York peppermint patties. She and her husband, Fred, live in Silver Spring, Maryland.