Pain, Forgiveness, and Making a Choice
Gospel Reflection for November 13, 2023
“He said to his disciples, ‘Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the person through whom they occur. It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he wrongs you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times saying, ‘I am sorry,’ you should forgive him.’
And the apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith.’ The Lord replied, ‘If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to [this] mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.’” (Luke 17:1-6 NABRE)
Forgiveness can be a very difficult thing. When someone has wronged us or hurt us in some way, it can be a struggle to move past the pain they’ve caused us. Yet, we must remember that we are not perfect, and neither can we expect them to be.
We have all sinned and made mistakes. We have all wronged others and have caused others pain in various shapes and forms. And if we want to be forgiven of the sins we’ve committed, then we must forgive others of theirs, even when their sins have hurt us in some way.
“If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.” (Mt. 6:14-15)
When we are tempted to hold grudges against others, we must ask ourselves, do we want our Lord Jesus to hold our sins against us? Of course not! So, we must learn to love and forgive others, as our Lord loves and willingly forgives us!
Now, that being said, though we must forgive others for their wrongs against us, we can decide whether or not this person should be in our lives. We must prayerfully discern, depending on the situation, whether it is best to forgive this person and remain in relationship with them, or to forgive this person and let them go. Whatever our choice, we must do so in a spirit of peace and love, not in hatred or vengeance.
Further, though sometimes it might seem like we’ll never be able to forgive someone, know that with time, patience, prayer, and faith, we will most definitely be able to forgive and love as our Lord does.