Forgive Others as God Forgives You
What does it mean to be forgiven? Have you ever gone to confession, after bearing a huge weight around for ages, and walked out feeling like you can fly? You feel as if you can do anything and everything God puts in your path, because if you can be forgiven for something that seems to fill you with so much weight and stress, than God will give you strength to do absolutely anything.
We have this experience of being forgiven through God's grace in confession, but what about by those around us? You make a small, or very big mistake and it pulls you down and you don't know if your friend will ever forgive you. You tell them your mistake, and they shrug it off like it was no big deal, and say "of course I forgive you". Again, you develop the feeling like you can conquer the world, even if there is still some regret for your mistakes. Do we do this same thing for others? If we so badly seek approval and the joys given through the grace of forgiveness, then why is it so hard for us to give this same grace to those we love, or even harder, those we hate?
In today's first reading, we read:'"But if a wicked man turns away from all his sins which he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; for the righteousness which he has done he shall live. Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, says the Lord GOD, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity and does the same abominable things that the wicked man does, shall he live? None of the righteous deeds which he has done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which he is guilty and the sin he has committed, he shall die. "Yet you say, `The way of the Lord is not just.' Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just? When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, he shall die for it; for the iniquity which he has committed he shall die. Again, when a wicked man turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is lawful and right, he shall save his life. Because he considered and turned away from all the transgressions which he had committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die'(Ezekiel 18:21-28).
We are told that if one sins and turns away from sin, they can be saved. But if we are good, and begin to sin, we will not be given the same grace. Let us then attempt this Lent at letting go of past transgressions, and giving God's grace to those around us through forgiveness.
Today's prayer comes from 'Catholic Online' a prayer for the strength to forgive:
Faultless Lord, enduring death for me, You have consummated the debt of my sins: Your sacrifice of forgiveness was absolute! Grant me the strength to also forgive others, To excuse their transgressions against me. So I may truly reflect this spiritual fruit, Obliterate any persistent feelings of malice. Let each trespass end as a closing chapter, My continuing on the road of righteousness. Forgive my sins as I aspire to forgive others. You are truly archetypical of forgiveness. You are a most forgiving Lord! Amen.