by Sister Laura Zelten
Today we have another challenging Gospel. Peter bluntly asks Jesus how many times Peter needs to forgive someone else. Is seven times enough? I wonder: Did Peter ask because he was curious or had he wounded a family member, a spouse or a friend multiple times? As often is the case, Jesus does not answer Peter’s question directly. Rather, Jesus tells Peter that he should forgive the other person not seven times but 77 times! Now that is a lot of forgiveness!
Minor hurts or insults are usually easy to forgive; however, when we feel betrayed or slandered, most of us find it difficult to forgive. And this is understandable. Our trust has been violated. But here’s why forgiveness is important: Withholding forgiveness is like carrying a cross that separates us from Jesus. When we forgive others we free ourselves of the burden of judgment. Giving this cross to Jesus draws us closer to Him. We can place our anger, hurt and resentment into Jesus’ hands and, over time, Jesus will heal these wounds.
We find grace in knowing that Jesus does not expect us to deal with these hurts alone. Jesus walks with us, encourages us, and gives us the grace to let go and forgive. Sometimes this takes days or weeks. Sometimes this takes months or years. As long as we keep asking Him for help, Jesus will work with us to free this burden, this pain. Jesus is with us and He will answer our prayers!
Today may we place all our burdens, our anger and our pain in Jesus’ hands. This will lighten our load immensely and free us! Will we -- do we -- trust Jesus?
Beautifully said Sr. Laura.
There is a lot of burden, anger and pain to place in Jesus' hands these days. Thank you for the eloquent reflection!
Yes, Sister, there is much pain & burden when times comes to forgive and forget, but some people can't do that. Maybe someday they will.
Sr. Laura, Thank you for what you said. I deal with people who have been hurt and continue to be hurt. They are not interested in forgiving. I will carry this with me because I do believe it will help.
God bless and thanks again.