Forgiving and Forgetting
Jesus taught many things but probably one of the most difficult was concerning the subject of forgiveness. Forgiveness is the central theme when preparing children for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Children are eager to learn and they are eager to please. Forgiveness for them comes much easier that it does for adults.
In the Gospel for the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Jesus tells us to forgive. And not just a little, but a lot! He tells the story of a king who had a slave. The slave owed a huge amount of money and when the king asked for his payment, the slave begged for mercy. The king was compassionate and forgave the slave’s debt. This would be a nice story if it ended here, but it doesn’t. The slave went to his fellow servants demanding payments on money they owed him. When they couldn’t pay he was not as understaning as the king was toward him. The king heard what the slave was doing and he wasn’t very merciful. How many times do we forgive? Jesus taught his disciples and us to “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
This is hard work and at times it seems beyond us. The easy thing to do is to stay angry and hold a grudge. The hard work is taking the steps that lead to forgiveness and reconciliation. You don’t have to teach someone to hold a grudge, but you have to teach someone to forgive. We can’t do this alone, we need help. We need the help that we can only get through reflection and prayer. It gives us the power to heal our pain, make the changes and lead us down the path of forgiveness. God forgives us and he gives us the power to forgive others.