How many of you find forgiveness easy, especially when you have been badly hurt by someone? What do you do when it happens? Do you stop talking to that person for a long time and let resentment build up inside? If so, is it a Christian attitude?
The good news is that Jesus came on earth to teach us true forgiving love. Amongst the spiritual leaders of all religions and sects, is not Christ the only one who revealed the infinite love and mercy of God with no limit to His forgiveness toward sinners?
Only if we believe that God never ceases to forgive our sins, even our gravest sins, can we understand his answer to Peter:
“Lord, how often must I forgive my brother if he wrongs me? As often as seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘Not seven, I tell you, but seventy-seven times.(Mt 18:21)Yet, as if the straight answer of Jesus to Peter was not sufficient, Jesus preaches a parable. What is the intention of Jesus here?
He wants to make sure that we clearly understand that we will not enter Heaven if we refuse to forgive our brother or sister. We will necessarily fall under the judgment of God who will apply his justice to all our sins.
What happens if we persist in refusing to forgive someone?
First, the refusal to forgive perpetuates the grief suffered within ourselves and in others. Second, we live with constant resentment and therefore with anger in our heart. It becomes like a cancer in our soul that destroys us. Third, people who refuse to forgive remain fixed in the past with their anger and pain. Finally, unforgiveness paralyzes our life and some are tempted to seek revenge.
If we want to live with true freedom, we need to pray to God for the grace to forgive our brother and sister from the heart which we cannot do without his help. It is so important to understand that forgiveness is the greatest act of God’s mercy which is our salvation and the only access to Heaven through our faith!
If we personally experienced the infinite mercy of God each time we go to confession and receive the sacramental absolution, then can we forgive those who hurt us especially those who hurt us the most.