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  • How Often Must I Forgive (9/15/2023)

    Today’s gospel passage provides us with a window into God’s mind when Jesus answers Peter’s question regarding how many times we must forgive someone. Jesus states it is not seven times, but seventy-seven times. In essence He is saying we must have no limit on our forgiveness.

    I believe this is one of the hardest things we are asked to do, because forgiveness is not the norm. We are programmed to protect ourselves from others who hurt us, so to open the door to the possibility of additional pain goes against our nature. Yet Jesus doesn’t tell us we should forgive only those we love, or those we believe are worthy. Rather He provides a parable that shows the need to forgive everyone. He also ends this passage with a very clear warning; “So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.” He is speaking of the servant in the parable, who though forgiven himself, will not forgive someone who owes him money. He refuses to show mercy, even though great mercy had been shown to him.

    But forgiveness is possible- with God’s help. We have been shown forgiveness by God, who by sending His Son has wiped away our sins. Perhaps we take this for granted. But let’s never forget what God has done for us, rather let’s do our best to return His love, by showing love and forgiveness to our brothers and sisters. Ask God for help when you struggle to forgive. Pray for the person who hurt you and ask God to bless them. This is a good start to the healing process. And forgiving others actually is healthy for us!

    God bless you,

    Deacon Ray

 

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