to forgive or not to forgive

To forgive or not forgive is too frequently the question. As Christians, we know that forgiveness is a two-way street.

Sadly, when it comes to forgiving those who have trespassed against us, or humbly asking forgiveness, we often find ourselves miserably entangled in an angry web of pride and self-righteousness. That’s when we begin to pick and choose – making a cafeteria buffet out of the Word of God - and blindly pass over a simple two-letter word.

“As” makes all the difference in this world and in eternity. The Word of God and the teaching of the Church is crystal clear. “And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” – CCC #2838

In our wretchedness, particularly in times of mortal sin, we can sprint to the confession line for God’s mercy. “Our hope is firm because, in his Son, ‘we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.’ We find the efficacious and undoubted sign of his forgiveness in the sacraments of his Church.” - CCC #2839

“Now - and this is daunting - this outpouring of mercy cannot penetrate our hearts as long as we have not forgiven those who have trespassed against us. Love, like the Body of Christ, is indivisible; we cannot love the God we cannot see if we do not love the brother or sister we do see. In refusing to forgive our brothers and sisters, our hearts are closed and their hardness makes them impervious to the Father’s merciful love…” – CCC #2840

Unforgiveness - refusing to forgive or ask forgiveness - is a very slow and deadly poison. The only antidote is forgiveness - given and received - through Christ-like, crucified love. We must be a people of peace and forgiveness if we are to be a people worthy of His merciful love.

Confess your sins and ask forgiveness. Forgive others and mend your ways, and your heart will be wide open to His grace.

Whom must you forgive?

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Copyright 2014, Brian K. Kravec