Knock That Boulder Off Your Shoulder

Towards a Heartfelt Journey to Forgiveness

Knock That Boulder Off Your Shoulder

This book reflects on the power of forgiveness in our lives - forgiving others and being forgiven. From the Introduction:

When I first thought of writing this book, I asked myself a few questions. The first was, "Who is your audience?" The very first person who came to mind was, "Me!" I have been known to hold grudges, and experience has taught me a very important lesson. It's a useless waste of time, energy, and health, as I will explain later in this introduction.

Next, I considered others who I know are currently carrying grudges. In some cases, grudges are separating them from family and/or friends with whom they once were close. In contrast, I also thought of stories that I have heard as a chaplain from patients and residents for over a quarter century. Their stories of forgiveness, especially when shared near the time of death – their own or that of a loved one – have been extremely poignant. Maybe you have been carrying this enormous burden in your own life. Perhaps you know someone who is carrying one. If so, this book is for you and/or them.

The reflections in this book are not meant to judge anyone who is carrying a grudge. Not judging is one lesson that I hope the reader will perceive as he/she reads these meditations and stories. This book ultimately is, as one national advertiser states, "a judgment-free zone."

This book is available from Eastern Christian Publications at its website: The cost is $25.00.

Sample Meditation

Down Chip Thirteen

Pearls of Wisdom: Romans 12:18, 20-21

"Do not repay anyone evil for evil.  Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.   If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.  On the contrary: 'If your enemy is hungry, feed him.  If he is thirsty, give him something to drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.'"

Prayer:  Lord, help me to forgive others their faults
Response:  As You have countless times forgiven my own faults and failings.

            Lord, I read what St. Paul communicated to the Romans.  And I am sure the people of his day had those who were against them because of their belief in You, the only God, and in Jesus Christ, Your only-begotten Son, and our Lord. 

But my own life has not been easy, Lord – not because I believe in You, but because of how [Name] makes me feel whenever I am around him/her.  I've tried not to repay evil with evil.  In fact, I haven't done anything evil to [Name], even when I have been tempted to do so.  I don't even associate with [Name], Lord.  I keep my distance so I don't try to avenge [Name] for what he/she did to me.  Come to think of it, I haven't even communicated with [Name] for [amount of time].  He/She doesn't contact me, and I don't contact him/her.  We lead our own separate lives, and this way, we don't attack each other.  Isn't that what St. Paul meant when he wrote, "Do not repay anyone evil for evil?"  So, I think I've been doing pretty well, don't You think so, Lord?

What is that, Lord?  You want me to read the second part of the quote?  Ok, here goes: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him.  If he is thirsty, give him something to drink."  I don't have to give food or water to [Name].  I don't deal with him/her and he/she doesn't come looking for me.  It's better that way.  Isn't that right, Lord?

What do you mean, "That's just avoidance behavior, and by avoiding [Name], you'll never come to know them like I, Who brought all of creation into being know them?"    Then where were You when I was being attacked and my good name was being slandered?  Oh.  You were there with me all the while.  Then why didn't You help me not be attacked?  You could have stopped him/her from what they did. 

You want me to read Psalm 69:20-22?  Let's see.  "Come and redeem my life;
because of my enemies. ransom me.   You know my reproach, my shame, my disgrace;
before you stand all my foes.  Insult has broken my heart, and I despair; I looked for compassion, but there was none, for comforters, but found none."  Yes, Lord!  You know this is how I feel!  You want me to read verse 22?  OK.  "Instead, they gave me poison for my food;
and for my thirst they gave me vinegar."  Oh.  You are telling me how Your enemies treated You when You were crucified for (gulp!) my sins – and the sins of all mankind.

I am sorry, Lord, for being so self-centered and so self-righteous.  I guess I've only looked at this situation through my own eyes.  Help me to be more kind, and to reach out and help [Name], and anyone else whom I might have slighted on my part, for in not forgiving them, I am not forgiving You.  And in holding my grudge against them, I am holding it against You, my long-suffering Lord.

Forgive me, Lord, I humbly pray, for my many sins and my refusal to love as You desire.  I, in turn, forgive [Name], Lord.  I ask Your pardon for my own insistence on holding on to this grudge.  Bless [Name], and shower him/her with Your choicest blessings.  For You alone are holy, You alone are Lord, Jesus Christ, together with Your Merciful Father and Your All-Holy, Life-Giving Spirit, now and ever and forever.  Amen.