Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Gospel Thoughts Today: Forgiveness Made Easier

Me? Stubborn? No, it's not stubbornness, it's just strength of mind or will the way I see it! When I feel very passionate about my viewpoint, it's hard to convince me otherwise. But when it's my way or the highway, how does that allow another to have their own point of view? I used to see everything as black or white . . . no shades of gray. Either you do or you don't. With age comes wisdom (thank GOD!). I can accept opinions in conflict with my own. I may be hurt or upset at first, but the love of Christ always leads me to forgiveness. I never want to disappoint Him. And when I don't forgive, I'm only hurting Our Lord. As long as I keep Him in the middle and see everything through His Eyes, compassion replaces vindication . . . forgiveness made easier!

In today's Gospel (Matthew 18:21-35), Jesus is probably not offering Peter the explanation he was looking for:

Peter approached Jesus and 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.
That is why the Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the accounting, a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount. Since he had no way of paying it back, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, his children, and all his property, in payment of the debt.

At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.' Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan. When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount. He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, 'Pay back what you owe.' Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.' But he refused. Instead, he had him put in prison until he paid back the debt. Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master and reported the whole affair. His master summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?' Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart."

In the quote below from Staying in Place, Anne's words give me such a great visual . . . as a nurse, I know how crucial oxygen can be in those where it is deficient:

"God’s mercy is like oxygen. His friendship is so inviting, so unconditional and ever-present that we cannot avoid its eagerness to forgive and restore to relationship. God does not want people to teach limited mercy, but rather fullness of mercy."

Lay apostles, today let's strap on the oxygen mask and remember how loved we are by Our Creator. No matter our sins, He is ready and waiting to forgive. Let go of the anger or hurt clouding judgment of the offender. Remember, we are all imperfect. Contemplate how much we crave God's forgiveness for our own sins, allowing us to view others with this same compassion.

Thank you, Lord, for helping me to let go of pride and ego enough to forgive quickly when I am hurt or offended. This "forgiveness" stuff is hard work, but the end result is seeing You Face to face someday!

God bless,

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