Seventy Times Seven
Are you a person of forgiveness? Think of the one grudge you've been holding onto for years. Maybe you joke and jest about the incident, but you still feel for it, and have not really forgiven the person for their mistake. When we talk about God and Original Sin, we hear how God is perfect, all-giving and all-loving. Out of love God created humanity, and yet we sin, wounding God's honour (a minor perspective, as we cannot actually taint God's honour). As God gave us everything and we take away from that love with every sin, there is no way we could really repay Him, even by doing extra good deeds. He sent Jesus to pay our debt, out of love, to give us the chance to seek redemption and replicate love for others, as Christ does for us. No matter how many times we sin, God loves us so much that He gives us chances of redemption, to be pure again. God wants us to seek Him, to be reunited in heaven, and help us to feel truly happy, to be our best.
Today's Gospel states:'And he said to his disciples, "Temptations to sin are sure to come; but woe to him by whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung round his neck and he were cast into the sea, than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. Take heed to yourselves; if your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him; and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, and says, `I repent,' you must forgive him." The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" And the Lord said, "If you had faith as a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this sycamine tree, `Be rooted up, and be planted in the sea,' and it would obey you'(Luke 17:1-6).
In today's Gospel we hear how God forgives us, and so it's important to forgive others, no matter how many times they wound us. If God shows us eternal love and sent his only Son to help us be redeemed, an act freely given, how could we possibly hold a grudge over our neighbour? We all sin, we are all people who need to heal and constantly work to better ourselves. In order to love like Jesus does on the cross, we need to forgive, not forget. In every sin we need to think, and pray and find ways to resolve so it won't happen again. Take some time to reflect on areas you can show forgiveness, and ask God to help you resolve, and let go.
Today's prayer comes from 'crosswalk' a prayer for forgiving our neighbours:
Thank you for your gift of forgiveness. Your only Son loved me enough to come to earth and experience the worst pain imaginable so I could be forgiven. Your mercy flows to me in spite of my faults and failures. Your Word says to “clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” (Col. 3:14) Help me demonstrate unconditional love today, even to those who hurt me.
I understand that even though I feel scarred, my emotions don’t have to control my actions. Father, may Your sweet words saturate my mind and direct my thoughts. Help me release the hurt and begin to love as Jesus loves. I want to see my offender through my Savior’s eyes. If I can be forgiven, so can he. I understand there are no levels to your love. We are all your children, and your desire is that none of us should perish.
You teach us to “let the peace that comes from Christ rule in our hearts.” (Col. 3:15) When I forgive in words, allow your Holy Spirit to fill my heart with peace. I pray this peace that only comes from Jesus will rule in my heart, keeping out doubt and questions. And above all, I am thankful. Not just today, not just this week, but always. Thank you for the reminder, “Always be thankful.” (Col. 3:15) With gratitude I can draw closer to you and let go of unforgiveness. With gratitude I can see the person who caused my pain as a child of the Most High God. Loved and accepted. Help me find the compassion that comes with true forgiveness.
And when I see the person who hurt me, bring this prayer back to my remembrance, so I can take any ungodly thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. (2 Cor. 10:5) And may the confidence of Christ in my heart guide me into the freedom of forgiveness. I praise you for the work you are doing in my life, teaching and perfecting my faith.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.