Have you ever noticed that the Our Father says, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”? I remember the first time I really thought about those words. I will be judged as I judge others. It was extremely unnerving to let that truth sink in.
At the same time, it gets to the heart of the Gospel; the Good News. Jesus preached love. The Ten Commandments were summed up as love of God and love of neighbor, all neighbors. He even expanded on the definition of neighbor in the parable of the Good Samaritan. In effect, everyone is our neighbor.
Forgiveness can be difficult. Some people have hurt us worse than others. In these situations, it is only in allowing Jesus into the wound that we can find the grace to forgive. It is only through Christ that we can look down from our own crosses, and say, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Sometimes, all we can say is, “God, it is my desire to forgive, but I feel unable. Please give me the grace to forgive.” In these circumstances, I think it is important to regularly revisit these points of pain, and to continue working to release these feelings. If we do so, we will eventually forgive. God is content with our desire, and our efforts to let him in so that he can heal these wounds.
May we all prayerfully reflect on our lives and identify people against whom we hold a grudge. Let us take these circumstances to prayer, go deeper in our walk with Christ, and let him teach us how to heal, how to forgive, and how to walk more fully in his kingdom; in his kingdom where peace, love and joy prevail.