This morning, I sat in morning mass listening to my amazing pastor homilize on today’s gospel reading from Matthew 18. I’d read the gospel earlier in the morning, and had stopped to ask myself if there was anyone I needed to work on forgiving… any deeply held grudges or hurts that were causing me to withhold forgiveness like the indebted servant in Matthew’s gospel.
I think I tend to be a “forgive and forget” type of girl, especially as I age and my memory dims. In fact, sometimes when a friend says to me, “I hope I didn’t offend you when I said ‘xyz’“, I laugh and let them know that the older I get, the more likely I am to forget such offenses.
But the truth is, sometimes the hurts that are the most difficult to let go are the simple little ones that come from those we love most — a husband who snaps because he’s tired, a child who takes our service for granted, a parent who nags… these aren’t civil war offenses, but they can place a sense of separation between us and the ones who love most.
Monsignor’s advice to us this morning on the topic of forgiveness was twofold:
- To get beyond your anger, remember that you too are capable of doing harm to others
- Pray (perhaps seventy seven times) for the person you are angry with, a sincere prayer for their well being, a prayer born out of love rather than anger
Are you carrying around a burden of unforgiveness in your life? Does this old hurt spill over into other relationships in your world, causing you an inability to love fully, or to be fully loved by others? Try praying today for the person you are unable to forgive, and perhaps make him or her your special intention for this week.