September 17, 2017: The Quality of Forgiveness
The Word of God proclaimed in our midst this Sunday has some strong imagery. “Wrath and anger are hateful things, yet the sinner hugs them tight” (Sirach 27:30). Our energy can be sapped by this kind of hugging – holding a grudge, harboring hurt. The person most affected by this kind of behavior is the one doing this kind of hugging. It constricts us. It turns us inward into a negative space. It makes us less free to live and love joyfully.
Today’s gospel begins with Peter questioning Jesus about how many times he must forgive someone. He is looking for a specific number. The gospel concludes with Jesus saying each of us must forgive our brother or sister from our heart. Jesus is speaking about the necessary quality of forgiveness instead of a quantity. It must be a deep, genuine, whole-hearted forgiveness.
When have you experienced God’s forgiving way toward you? What helps you to whole-heartedly forgive another?