Memento Mori is Latin for “Remember that you will die.” As a victorious Roman Generals paraded triumphantly through the streets of Rome to much fanfare, a slave would whisper in his ear, “Remember thou art mortal.”

Whether at a moment of great triumph like the Roman general or wallowing in the depths of despair, we will do well to remember that nobody lives forever, and we should want to shuffle off this mortal coil without guilt, die strong and proud; we should maintain an eternal perspective. We are mortals, and we can make good or bad choices. My hardest choice was forgiving people until I learned three things. Knowing something intellectually and really understanding it is different.

I learned and understood the sacrifice and grace afforded me by Christ and His undeserved forgiveness, I understood how much I needed to be forgiven by other people, and I understood that the easiest way to forgive is to sincerely pray for those individuals who have hurt us.

The Buddha said that not forgiving people is like holding a burning coal in your hand. He was right. To be truly free mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, we need to forgive, and, in some cases, ask for others forgiveness. Do this for your own sake as well as for the sake of others. It doesn’t mean you need to associate with them, do business with them, or make yourself vulnerable to them again – after all, you’re not stupid, so don’t let mindless spirituality override your common sense – but it is a means to clear your heart and mind and spirit.

Life is short. Prepare for your death. Own good life insurance, make your will, prepay your funeral, get your things in order so that you’re not a burden to those left behind. Set them free from your issues, your debts, your problems. Don’t inflict guilt on them. Guilt, like jealousy, resentment, anger, and greed destroys people, breaks them down, weakens them in every way.

Be free – do the right thing. It’s hard when you start praying for the individuals that have hurt you but remember the words, “Lord, I believe – help Thou mine unbelief.” All you need to do is to start praying for them, and it gets progressively easier and more sincere with repetition. It takes both courage and common sense to be obedient to God; after all, it’s for our own good.

Robin Elliott