116:15 – O precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful
The Psalm above is God’s Word, which
comes from His mouth and therefore it is true to its core, about how He is
deeply pained, to see you suffer. Yet from the foundation of the world (when He
had you in His mind), He knew exactly about this particular pain of yours and
all the pain you would ever experience but He had planned the remedy for it. It
is imperative that you come to the knowledge that, He has always cared for your
Referring to the word “death”, in the Psalm,
is not only limited to the demise of a person, but it also expands to mean the bruises
and damages experienced by you and me, which is considered precious in the eyes
So what exactly does “Precious” mean?
It does not mean that God gets
thrilled to see the sufferings we have gone through (though He does value it,
for a higher good to come). Precious is in fact considered very COSTLY, in the
eyes of God. That the suffering we endured (especially when it was unjust), was
very costly, to Him, seeing us endure it (since we are so weak in comparison to
the omnipotence of Our Father).
irony of forgiveness:
Often it seems that because God is very
firm about the fact that we need to forgive, we feel He does not seem to pay
heed to our pain, as He does not provide immediate justice. Alternatively, some
people view forgiveness as making the pain worse, because it appears that they must
put their offender before them and forget about themselves. Very often than not
the offender, may show no remorse and even carry on being nasty.
11: 5 – 6, 17 & 33-36
Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was
sick, he stayed where he was two more days…..
arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.
When Jesus saw her (Mary) weeping, and the Jews who had come
along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.
“Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus
wept. Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
The account of the raising of Lazarus,
proves two things:
It is clear even though Jesus knew the
tears of the sisters would only be temporary, the heart of Jesus was hurting to
see this, such that He could not help but weep. Of course, He definitely did
not weep because Lazarus died, since He came to raise Him from the dead and
foresaw the joy and glory awaiting Lazarus and his sisters.
Yet earlier on, though Jesus knew the
pain the sisters were in while Lazarus was sick, He was firm about not going to
heal him. He waited for him to die, because Jesus wanted them to experience
freedom from fear of death, when they realized that in Jesus, death is not
final, but that He is the resurrection.
This is similar to God being firm with
us about forgiveness, though He knows it sometimes grievously hurts us to
forgive (such that it almost seems ridiculous for Him to demand forgiveness).
Yet He sees the healing and cleansing effect it has and though He does weep
over our pain, He knows it will only be temporary, if we are willing to cooperate
God really understand how costly my pain is, because it sometimes seems to me
that He discounts it?
Is Psalm 116:15 just mere words, maybe
God is giving us a rub on the back and hastening us to quieten down or even
shut us up, so that we stop crying, grumbling and even worse, going against His
rule of harmony, by taking revenge?
Like a parable, the verses below,
explains that each time we go through pain, He endures the same suffering of
pain and worse, which is not to be mistaken as someone sharing the pain with you.
25:41-46 – “Then (Son of Man) he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from
me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no
drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no
clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ Then they will
answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or
naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’
will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these
least ones, you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal
punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
How do we understand in-depth, the
seriousness of this statement?
A one word answer for this is: His
death on the cross (as we will see below, in details).
how excruciating your pain is, to God the Father
Every Christian knows that the whole
law is summed up in the Ten Commandments. However, only (the first) three of
these commandments, directly focuses on how to avoid offending God, but the majority,
which is the rest of the seven commandments, are about how to keep from sinning
against your neighbour.
While the majority of us, are regular
church goers, it is safe to say that, we do not often intentionally break the first
three commandments, which is directly against God.
Rather, more often, we break the remaining
seven commandments (which is against others). The reason behind this is that,
we do not often have grievances towards God, but we tend to have several
grievances towards others – and God knows this very well!
Therefore from the beginning of
creation, the Father, decreed that Jesus would be sent as a sacrifice, to take
away our sins.
does the below scripture provide substantial proof that our pain means a whole
lot to God?
1:16,18-20 – For in him (Jesus) all things were created… all things have
been created through him and for him. And he is the head of the
body, the church… For God was pleased to have all his
fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself
all things, … by making peace through his blood, shed on the
though God is all powerful and is definitely not weak hearted, His heart is so Sacred,
that it brims with perfect love, which can only build up. Hence there can never
be any trace of hate in Him and the effects of hate which tear down – because
that goes directly against His very nature.
that mankind would sin and tear down the heart of one another, which is against
His holy heart and would be very grievous for the Father to accept. This is why
He charged Jesus (for whom all mankind was created) and not us, to bear
the responsibility of making reparation to the Father (through the most painful
sacrifice on the cross), for the sins I committed against you (God and myself),
(in His Divine Justice) demanded that the Son (through His sacrificial heart of
Divine Mercy), atones to the Father, for these offenses.
Because we recall that He said that sin and the destructive wounds it inflicts
us with, is too costly a pain that the Father has to endure see us in, besides
the wounds we directly inflict on Him. Remember too, that most of the laws we
break are directly against each other, in comparison to the fewer laws we break
intentionally and directly against Him.
there are several other dimensions to the reason behind Christ’s death, His atonement
for our pain and wounding, is a very important one.
It is also
important to consider that, for the very sins and wounds against you, you could
not satisfactorily pay a price to the Father, for your offender (even if you
wanted to), because of how the sin has offended you in body and soul. Only
how much the Father values your pain and understands the catastrophic effects
it has on your entire being.
only price you can pay, is to join with Jesus’ sufferings, in consciously
making a painful act of forgive your offender and pray for him/her.
the end, it is because we are all wounded that we wound the other
Romans 3:23 clearly points: For all have sinned and fall short of
the glory of God.
Now because, “An eye for an eye, will
make the whole world blind”, since each of us have sinned, what is God to do
with creation – wipe it out? He cannot, but rather expects us to (patiently along
with Him): Bear with each other and forgive
one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord
forgave you (Colossians 3:13)
If with the eyes of faith, we ponder
deeply over how the Father is even more pained for us, each time our offender
wounds us, we will be comforted in knowing that God does not discount our pain
For the words of scripture ring true about
how the Father loves us, because as much as He loved His own son Jesus (for our
sake), He DID NOT SPARE Him.
who did not spare His own Son but gave Him
up for us all,…” Romans 8:32
that God grieves for our wounds is not only in scripture, but it can be
understood by the sacraments
Scripture (written 2,000 years ago) is
not the only source of this proof, there is sacramental proof as well, which has
always been in the Catholic Church.
If I have seriously offended you, it
is not okay with God, that I only approach you for reconciliation. I have to go
to the confessional and also ask for God’s pardon for what I did to you –
because as your Father, He is offended!
Though we ask God for forgiveness in
confession, it is not only when we break one of the first three commandments
(which is directly against Him). But should that not be the case, since in confession,
we go to God to ask pardon for offending Him? Is He not satisfied with us
asking Him forgiveness for sins against Him only? No, He considers my offense
to you, a wound and sin against Him too because “though we are many, we are one body in Christ” (Romans 12:5).
There is also evidence from the priest’s
words of absolution (given below), where we see that because the Father’s heart
is wounded (for sins against us and Him), He has decreed that only the merits
of the death and resurrection of God the Son, can make perfect atonement to Him,
while the offender is duly pardoned:
the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has
reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the
forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon
and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of
the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Finally, even if my sin against my
brother, was not mortal, Christ Himself will only permit me to receive His Body
and return to friendship with Him, after asking God’s pardon through the
Penitential Act which is at the beginning of the mass.
21:4 – He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or
mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
God also knows all too well the areas
of pain that we have gone through in prefect detail and much more than we do.
So even though we may be tempted to feel that our cares and wounds are
unattended to, through faith, we should be even more confident to leave it to
Him, to take care of.
In fact, there are (inner) wounds we
may feel brave enough to brush off, but as per His perfect diagnosis, He wishes
to nurse that wound, which we sometimes discount. Our Father knows the
miniscule details of our pain, that we are ignorant about with His eyes being
10,000 times brighter than the sun, He scans and keeps account of all the pain
we have, longing to heal us, in His time.
God to heal us:
There are profound reasons God asks us
to forgive everyone (and some of it can be a mystery), but one thing is for
sure, as difficult as it is to forgive (especially some incidents), by putting
an end to the desire to avenge or cease hating or wishing evil for the enemy,
we please God with our bold strides of faith. Consequently, we have let go of
the entire issue in trust, left it to the care of Our Father.
By forgiving, two things happen
simultaneously; we let go of the hate and thus the problem is completely
released to God. By this, we automatically remove any restrictions from our
side for Him to act on our behalf and give Him full reign over the problem.
Considering our pain is so “precious”
to Him, when we literally lay the whole burden upon Him, He is compelled to act
quickly for us.
His act has various dimensions to it;
healing us, empowering us to stop being wounded by similar offenses in future,
giving us divine insights, causing the offender to repent and make up in some
way (if it is too late to make up with you, then to turn their life around and
do a permanent good service to others) but if they refuse, then they have to
eventually accept the hand of justice upon them.
preplanned healing remedy that gifts us with Divine insight
While (excruciating) pain is too
costly a price to pay, some of it molds us, by forcing open our eyes to become
sharper, let go of what we were unhealthily attached to and makes us more like
Jesus in being compassionate to others, who suffer in this same area of pain
and help them come out of it.
Isaiah 40:31 – But those who hope in the Lord will
renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles…
package deal – He is the only one who can “reverse” sin, undo its damage and make
things better than before
If Jesus is the only one who could
wipe out our sins, firstly by mercifully agreeing to be the atonement, (as per
the demands of supreme justice), then it is also only He, who can remedy our
pain. To elaborate, it means, by bearing our sins upon Himself, He is the only
one who knows all about our sins and therefore only He knows the perfect way to
conduct the process of healing our damaged heart, broken by the sin inflicted
on us. Furthermore, He can even go so far as to heal the guilt that our
offender brings upon himself or herself, through this very sin (which He died
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to
bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to
proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who
note about forgiveness: While God demands that we forgive, He does
not demand that we resume relations to full strength with our offender, especially
if we know we will be in danger of the same (serious) offence, again.
reflection: These reflections stem from a very effective teaching by Fr. Paul
Nicholson, on his struggle to forgive and how he found the key to forgive, by
relying on Our Father’s love: The Secret of How to Forgive – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hiyws1dh8I0