Thursday, August 12, 2010

Forgiveness

One can never be reminded too often of the importance of forgiveness, and even though it is late in the day, I'm going to reflect on today's Gospel which was Mt 18:21–19:1.

St. Peter asks Jesus, “Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive him?
As many as seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times."

Jesus then goes on to tell of a King who is generous in forgiving debts, but then the person whose debt is forgiven goes out and holds someone else accountable for their debt to him. The forgiveness is not extended.

This is another way of reminding us of those words in the "Our Father": "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."

God is generous with his forgiveness toward us. Do we offer the same forgiveness to others or do we hold things against them, even years after the fact? Forgiveness is hard, no doubt about it. It sometimes seems so much easier to hold on to the pain and anger, to hold on to the sense that we were right and we were wronged and the other person should pay for that, forever if need be. Yet, it is only through true forgiveness that we will ever be free.

In my house, I have a framed print of some of the verses of 1 Corinthians 13. One of the lines is "Love keeps no record of wrongs."

Who do you need to forgive? Forgiveness is a process, but maybe today you can take the first steps in letting go of some hurt that someone inflicted on you. Maybe today you can pray for God's help to forgive. I will, too.

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