“As we forgive those who trespass against us”… “Can we do that?”

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I’d seen Gwen on the ward the day before. She was in the company of her daughter and grandson, and after a long life and in her late nineties, she had had a stroke and was poorly; very poorly.

I was there at the request of her daughter as Gwen was a lifelong church goer and thought that seeing the Chaplain might bring her some comfort. Gwen was tired but we shared some prayers.

On the second occasion Gwen was much brighter and although she was having difficulty swallowing, she could utter a few words. “Can we say the Lord’s Prayer,” she asked – and so we did. She managed to gasp out the words until we got to the line: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” And then she said: “Can we do that; can we forgive others.”

It was a moving moment. Here, in this bed, with her family around her and the end of her life in sight, this lady engaged in a profound piece of theological reflection, and concluded, “I’m only human but I’ve done my best!”

You won’t find that in theological textbooks. It’s probably too deep for the world’s theologians. But here was a woman who had lived a life in which she sought to do good, help others, and serve the Church and her community, giving us an answer. And two days later she passed from this world.

I learn something new most days…and Gwen taught me then. She and her family will not know the impact, and I probably couldn’t put it into words.

I just thought you might like to know.

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5 responses to ““As we forgive those who trespass against us”… “Can we do that?”

  1. Edgar, Bev \(Personnel\)

    What a lovely story and a wonderful piece of learning for us all!!
    Bev

    Bev Edgar

    Director of Human Resources & Organisational Development
    Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust

    Ext 39186

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    Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust is applying to become a Foundation Trust (FT). We are actively recruiting Members from the local population. Membership is free and Members can choose their level of engagement. Members are also eligible to vote – or stand – in elections to our new Council of Governors. For more information, see our website at http://www.worcsacute.nhs.uk and follow the Foundation Trust link.
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  2. The sad part is when we forgive but our forgiveness is rejected or the person dies without being aware of our forgiveness. So much is out of our hands.

  3. The older I get and the more of life I experience, the more I realise the following: it is important to apologise, sometimes even if we don’t think we’re in the wrong. It is important to be able to forgive. But… some things aren’t forgivable. Sad, but I hope balanced.

  4. As I get older and experience more of life, I realise the following: it is important to apologise, sometimes even if we don’t think we’re in the wrong. It is important to forgive. But… somethings aren’t forgivable. Sad but hopefully balanced

  5. Pingback: “PATIENT’S ALWAYS TEACH YOU NEW THINGS”: A Story from Dr. Ana Garcia | CHAPLAIN'S BLOG

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