Forgiveness

(updated 5/16/2010)

 

Jesus taught us the power of forgiveness. 

Why is forgiveness so important? 

Forgiveness is important because it teaches us the true meaning of love, which is that love is unconditional.  It teaches us to place God and others before ourselves. 

Forgiveness is an act of love and humility.  It is also an opportunity to put our trust in God.  When we forgive others, we allow God to dispel the darkness in the lives of everyone involved. When we forgive, we become like Jesus.

 

Love is more powerful than any sin or any tresspass, no matter how great or grave it is.  This is the love that God has for us.  This is the love that God calls us to have for others. 

To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love.

If God can forgive our sins through the Sacrament of Reconcilation/Penance (Confession), then we must be merciful to others as well through our forgiveness of others.  

If we cannot forgive others, then how can we ask forgiveness from God for our own sins?  Unforgiveness burdens our souls through pride and despair.  It becomes an obstacle that prevents God from coming into our lives and filling our souls with His grace.  This is why we have this talk before Total Commitment because meditating on the forgiveness of others helps us to empty our souls of hate, pride, and despair.  It encourages us to trust in God, and to be His instrument through the power of forgiveness and love. 

A Gospel Imperative

Jesus said to “forgive, and you will be forgiven … the measure you give will be the measure you get back” – Luke 6:36-38

  “When you stand to pray, forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance, so that your heavenly Father may in turn forgive you your transgressions.”  - Mark 11:25

Jesus said:  “If you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (Mt. 6:14-15). 

Jesus told them that if they went to pray and remembered a grudge they held, they should leave their gift at the altar and be reconciled first (Mt. 5:23)

Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do."  Luke 23:34

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
– Ephesians 4:31-32

 

Factors to remember

Forgiveness is born from our love and concern for the well-being of others, which comes from God’s love for us, for God is love (1 Jn. 4:16)

Forgiveness is a human need; there are times we all need to be forgiven.

Forgiveness is Difficult

Forgives takes time

Forgiveness heals

Forgiveness frees people

Forgiveness shows courage

Forgiveness looks ahead

 

How do we get the courage and strength to forgive others?

Remember that no one is perfect, even yourself.  Consider your own mistakes and wrong doings that you committed in the past.  It might help you understand the hurt inflicted upon you. 

Pray.  Ask God to help you find the strength to do what you cannot do on your own. 

Resolve to do what is right, even if it is difficult.  Resolve to forgive others. 
Through this, you will become like Jesus. You will discover love and humility.

Conclusion

Forgiveness is important because it teaches us the true meaning of love, which is that love is unconditional.  It teaches us to place God and others before ourselves. 

Forgiveness helps us to be like Jesus, and it brings Jesus to everyone who needs God’s love.

God loves you.  Remember that his fatherly love surrounds you.  Remember that he sent his Son to save you.  Each day entrust your life to his hands. 
The failure to forgive forces us to carry our hurt and resentment as a burden.
Let go, and let God. Trust in His divine mercy.

Let us pray: 

Our soul awaits the Lord, He is our help and shield, our hearts rejoice in Him, we trust in his holy name.  Lord, let your love rest on us as our hope has rested in you. Give us the grace to be forgiving to others as you have been forgiving and loving to us.  Amen.

References
Adapted from the pamphlet : The Power of Forgiveness. CHristopher News Notes