REFLECT – DAY 24:
I don’t know about you but there is someone in my life that I just do NOT want to forgive. The pain they have caused and continue to cause, the deep rifts it can bring to my family or friendships. The tears that have been shed all add up to a desire to never forgive them.
However, Jesus message of radical forgiveness calls me to try. To pray for a desire to forgive, even when I really don’t want to. And not just stop at trying, but actually reach a point where I can truly say ‘ I forgive you’.
Today’s passage is Matthew 18:21-34. Take some time to read or listen to this passage and perhaps have the list you have been creating over the last few days with you during this time.
The world around us can suggest that the way to be happy is to think that we are perfect and everyone else is wrong. We should store up the wrongs that people do to us to bolster our own sense of being better.
Jesus tells us that the way to be happy is to be merciful: to remember that we are imperfect, that we need forgiveness everyday, and that we need to extend that forgiveness to others and set them free.
Nelson Mandela, who himself suffered much in his life time and had every right in the worlds sight to seek revenge on those who wronged him and those he loved, once said: “Resentment is like drinking poison and hoping it will kill your enemies.”
This powerful parable is told to the Church. Refusing to forgive poisons families, communities and workplaces. Small slights can grow into huge barriers.
One of the greatest gifts the Church has to offer the world around us is to be a community which practices this radical forgiveness, not seven times but seventy times seven.
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and rest me.
from St Patrick’s Breastplate
Look again at the three columns in your list. Do you need to extend them? Who are the people whom need to be forgiven ‘seventy times seven’?