Is forgiveness ever easy? In the Gospel reading from Matthew 18:21-35, Jesus was asked by Peter, "Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times." We, as Peter was told, are encouraged to forgive. I would like to share with you something that might help us to forgive. It is called The Ten Commandments of Forgiveness by Fr. Brian Joyce.
1. Forgiveness is not easy. It takes time and it takes effort.
2. Forgiveness is not forgetting. It doesn't mean a change in memory. It means a change in heart.
3. Forgiveness does not overlook evil. In other words, it is not avoidance. It is not denial.
4. Forgiveness is not destructive. It doesn't mean that we let hurt and damage continue and go on.
5. Forgiveness is not the same thing as approval. In fact, the reason that we need forgiveness is that we don't approve. Something has happened that we do not approve of. We will not approve of it. What we can do is forgive.
6. Forgiveness is based on recognizing and admitting that people are always bigger than their faults. In other words, I should not define people by just the way they have treated me. There is more to their lives than that.
7. Forgiveness is willing to allow a person who has offended me to start over again. Or, do I say, " No room! No second chances! No, I will not ever let go and let you begin again."
8. Forgiveness recognizes the humanity of the person who has wronged us and also recognizes our own humanity and our own shortcomings and our own contribution to what went wrong.
9. Forgiveness surrenders the right to "get even."
10. Forgiveness means we wish the person or the group that has hurt us well. In fact, we wish them the best.