You notice the title is not “forgiveness” but “forgiving”. Forgiving is an active process. Forgiveness is the end result. It is an interesting phenomenon for the Chaplain to think that he or she may hide their more dark side under the cloak of the ministry or chaplaincy. To do that promotes a façade and makes the chaplain a phony.
Who are you angry with? Who have you yet to forgive? Why are you holding a grudge? Do you think that your bitter spirit is hidden from view because you are a chaplain? Others may not know what is wrong but they do know that something is wrong. And, your patients know. How interesting it is when we make the discovery that those in the land of the dying (our patients) have a sensitive spiritual sensor. They are beyond the cover-up that so characterizes us in the land of the living. What you never want to happen is for a patient to say to you is something like this: “Chaplain, how are you? I detect something is just not totally right with you. I’ll listen if you want to get it out.” Oh me. The roles reversed. That is your job, Chaplain Friend, to listen to inner pain and sorrow of the patient.
So, let’s get this out in the open. If you are bitter, figure out why, and get rid of it. If you need to forgive someone, do it. In fact, I urge you to get your inner person straightened before you see your next patient. That’s how strongly I believe your inner turmoil affects your outward spiritual care provision. Let me lighten the mood a bit and invite you to go to youtube.com Look up the video titled, Bob Newhart-Stop It. It is great counsel.