The Paradoxical Sting (Prayer of Forgiveness)

Give us clean hands, Oh God,

But, like a child who falls down on hard ground,
scraping his/her hands,
dirt and dried blood disrupting
the smoothness of our open palms,
and learns that part of fixing up our wounds
is that awful, stinging, first aid antiseptic
that cleans our cuts,
accepting that we have to add more sting to our stings
in order for them not to sting anymore,

May we, too, realize
That our hands can only truly be made clean
When feel the sting
of our actions,
When we recognize the consequences
of our mangled webs we’ve trapped ourselves in,
When we feel the weight of what we’ve done
or hurt we’ve caused
Or verbalize all the secret truths about ourselves
we try to repress…

When we confess to God,
To those we’ve wronged,
and to ourselves

When we allow ourselves to hear,
taste, and feel the anodyne forgiveness of our God

When we allow ourselves to humbly take in
and receive grace in the forgiveness
of another human being,
the very one, in fact, we’ve wronged

When we, in turn, let such forgiveness
simmer down deep
into the parts of our souls still drenched in shame,
and finally make peace with ourselves through forgiveness,

Then, and perhaps only then, will we experience
the allelujah of being washed clean
,
Our broken pieces made whole
Our scrapes, healed,
Our hearts, resolved.
Our harried minds, resoluted,
Our souls, in holy peace.

Amen.

copyright MO 2012

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