Then Peter approaching asked him, "Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus answered, "I say to you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times." (Matthew 18:21-22, NAB)
Every time we pray the Our Father, we say "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." But do we really mean what we say? Do we forgive others as we wish to be forgiven by God?
Today's reading reminds us that we need to practice living in God's mercy. We need to practice forgiving as God forgives. Mother Theodore Guerin, foundress of the Sisters of Providence in Terre Haute, Indiana, once wrote, "God's mercy is greater than the number of sins we will ever commit." God's mercy is greater than any number or greatness of sins we can commit. No matter what we do, if we ask God's forgiveness, God will grant us forgiveness.
What a comforting thought!
But do we do the same for others? or even ourselves? Does our forgiveness mirror God's?
When was the last time you held a grudge? How many grudges are you holding right now? Why do you hold onto those grudges? What good is it really doing you or anyone else that you aren't forgiving?
As you reflect on the reading for this Lord's Day, invite the God of Mercy to fill you with compassion and to help you forgive. Allow God to take the weight of holding those grudges off your heart. You will be amazed at how much happier you will after you give and accept forgiveness!