forgiveness as a way of life
"My heavenly Father will treat you in exactly the same way unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart." —Matthew 18:35
We have a tendency to hug wrath, anger, resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness (see Sir 27:30). This is the embrace of death, for "the vengeful will suffer the Lord's vengeance" (Sir 28:1). "He remembers their sins in detail" (Sir 28:1). If we embrace unforgiveness and its side-effects:
- Our sins will not be forgiven (Mt 6:12; Sir 28:2, 4, 5).
- Our prayer will not be heard (Mk 11:25; Sir 28:2).
- We will block the Lord from giving us healing (Sir 28:3).
- We will block the Lord's mercy from entering our lives (Sir 28:4; Mt 5:7).
The effects of and deprivations resulting from unforgiveness are so devastating that they produce in us a life of torture (see Mt 18:34).
For God's sake and our own sake we must accept the grace to live lives of forgiveness. We must keep forgiving 70 times 7 times (Mt 18:22) and forgive even our enemies (see Lk 23:34). We, like the father of the prodigal sons, must show our enemies love and mercy in practical ways (see Lk 15:20ff). Because we have to forgive so many people so many times and have to express these forgivenesses practically, forgiveness should become a way of life. Forgiveness makes our lives miraculous and full of grace.
By forgiveness, choose a life of miracles, mercy, and grace rather than a life of deprivation and torture.
Prayer: Father, give me a lifestyle of forgiveness.
Promise: "While we live we are responsible to the Lord, and when we die we die as His servants." —Rm 14:8
Praise: Praise Jesus, risen Mercy!
Reference: (For related teaching, order our leaflets, Unforgiveness is the Cause and 14 Questions on Forgiveness or on audio AV 41-1.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, February 7, 2002
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 12, 2002