How Do I Forgive?
24th Sunday Ordinary Time
September 17, 2017
It is amazing how often Jesus insists that we forgive our neighbor for what he or she has done to us, and today’s dramatic gospel is no exception! (Matthew 18:21-35). Of course, what is implied here is that we all get offended by others at times, sometimes very deeply. We want to fulfill the gospel. How do we do this? Here are a few simple rules of forgiveness:
1. Forgiveness is not a feeling. Jesus isn’t commanding us to “like” our enemy, or to “feel good” about the person who hurt us. After forgiving, I may still have terrible feelings about the offender, but that does not mean I haven’t forgiven!
2. Forgiveness means not talking about the offender to everyone who will listen!
3. Forgiveness means being cordial toward the offender when we meet them, even doing a kindness to them if required. It does not mean we have to go out of our way to speak to them on a regular basis.
4. Forgiveness is an act of the will. When I pray or am reminded of my hurt, I will tell Jesus that I forgive this person because Christ forgives me. I choose to forgive because I am looking not at the offender but at Christ.
5. Jesus is not requiring you to forget. To remember is not the same as harboring unforgiveness.