Friday, June 15, 2018

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. – Matthew 18:2,22

I have heard a few take this literally, the limit is either seventy times or seven times seventy times.  I have heard a few who say this is a mysterious code tie in with the Book of Revelation.  I heard scholars emphasis the perfection of the numbers 7 (as in Sabbath) and 70 (as in the generations).  I take it to mean that Christ told Peter …“do not give up on the process of life-changing mercy.”

At one time I thought of forgiveness as a one-time declaration like throwing the matter out of court.  But my life experience, especially a lifetime of practicing forgiveness, I find forgiveness is closing the distance from the place where we find ourselves in our relationship to the place where ought to find ourselves in our relationship.  And most often … it takes a process of time after time.

waves washing

I have found this applies to forgiving to others and to forgiving one’s self.  And as an old man I am finding this applies to even forgiving life itself.  The grudges linger.  The hurts linger.  The frustrations linger.  The injustices linger.  The accusations linger.  The conflicts linger.  They keep returning to most human souls … so the forgiveness must come in waves … until sometimes after the seven times seventy … that which lingered has finally gone away.

Do not be flippant with forgiveness, offering a lip-service declaration of what may not yet fully processed.  Forgiveness so often is a human experience that requires some time to be fulfilled.

Always in Christ’s Service,

Fr. Charitas de la Cruz

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