When was the last time we say, “I forgive you. I am sorry. Please forgive me”? Or nonetheless, did I experience forgiveness in my entire life? Yes, I did. Or maybe not! Simply because I am too preoccupied with my selfishness that I never pay attention to others.
In the gospel reading of Matthew 18:21-35, Peter asked Jesus how many times he would forgive when someone offended him. Not to forgive seven times but seventy-times seven! What a challenging one! What does it mean? The call to forgive is not only once but more than that. It is a call of an infinite mercy when somebody hurt us so many times. It is an unending forgiveness of what Jesus did for us.
The sad thing in the gospel, when the master was moved with compassion to the servant for his debt to him, the latter seized his fellow servant and refused to forgive him for his debt and even put him into prison. What a scenario! The master forgave him but he did not forgive his fellow servant.
True enough it is not easy to forgive especially if my heart is full of hatred, anger, resentment or envy. It is not easy to forgive if the pain is deep and the hurt cannot be easily forgotten. It is also not easy to forgive if I only focus on the bad experiences but not with what God has done for me. There is no space to breathe into a new life within.
How many times I failed to love unreservedly my neighbors and yet I still experience their great love, understanding and patience with me? When I sense in my heart that I have sinned, there is this sensation of shame: “I am ashamed to have done this. I ask your forgiveness with shame.”
If I take a look on Jesus at the cross, why He needed to suffer for my sins? For His great love for us, He sacrifice His very own life. What a shameful servant am I if I will not take into account on what He had done for me.
God forgets all the wrongdoing I have committed when he pardons me. It is because of love. Could I also do the same? Do I also forgive? Forgiveness and seeking forgiveness go hand in hand. It is not separated. Even though it is difficult I will not cease of giving and seeking forgiveness because Jesus himself did it for our sake, not solely for Himself but for others.
May the Lord grant me always the grace of a forgiving heart. Amen.