Today’s Gospel account deals with a topic that makes all of us cringe! Forgiveness. Not a single one of us can get through life without being hurt or hurting someone else. How do we deal with these hurts? We have two choices: 1) they can provide us with an opportunity to grow, or 2) they can become a stumbling block to human and spiritual growth.
Hurts are not easy to deal with. When we are hurt, self-pity walks through our front door. However, when we entertain self-pity, it produces within us feelings of bitterness, resentment, and anger. The wound begins to fester and it poisons our spirit, and limits our capacity to love. The sad reality is, some folks have years of stored up hurts lingering inside of them.
The important thing for us to do from time to time is clean out our mind and heart. The cobwebs of self-pity have to be swept away. The cancerous growth of bitterness has to be cut out. Hurt feelings have to be dug up, owned and then let go of.
Here is where forgiveness comes into the picture. Though never easy, even from a human standpoint it makes sense. We rid ourselves of the burden of bitterness and resentment. Built up anger melts away. As a result, we experience a sense of freedom and a healing of our heart.
Forgiveness also works wonders for the person who is forgiven. The person is set free to walk in friendship with God and with the person who was offended.
Forgiveness reminds us of our own poverty, brokenness, and sin, and therefore our own need to be forgiven. This helps us to forgive with understanding and humility. And it is important to remember that we cannot simply forgive in word, it must come from the heart.
When we forgive others we clear the path for God to forgive us. The only obstacle we can put in the way of God’s forgiveness of our sins is our unwillingness to forgive others. We must always keep before us what it is we pray in the Lord’s Prayer, “Forgive us our sins as we forgive others sins.” In other words we are attaching a condition to how we want God to forgive us ... only insomuch as we are willing to forgive others. Think about it!
— Fr. Dennis, Sept. 17, 2017