“Then Peter came up and said to him, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.’” (Matthew 18:21-22)
As long as humans live together, there are bound to be moments of friction, disagreement, misunderstanding and tension. Most times, disputes begin unintentionally like little sparks of fire but when not properly managed, they become large balls of fire capable of bringing down whole communities.
At the bottom line of most of our quarrels are 1. Pride. 2. Anger. 3. Attachment to Material Things and 4. Refusal to Forgive. Forgiveness is very strong medicine. Like most medicines, it is very bitter and could even involve piercing oneself with a needle (injection), but the effects are wonderful.
Today, Jesus gives us further instructions on Forgiveness. Peter asked him: “How often shall I forgive my brother who sins against me?” Peter was expecting to hear a specific number but according to Jesus, forgiveness should be infinite.
Jesus wants us to consider the fact that forgiveness is required of us because we too have been forgiven by a God who never counts or keeps a record of our offences.
Compared to what we owe God, that which others owe us is nothing! Think of the worst thing anyone has done to you for whom you strongly believe he or she does not deserve to be forgiven. Does it occur to you that God has already forgiven you for a greater offence than that?
Forgiveness like Prayer demands faith. The more we believe in God’s mercy, the more readily we are prone to forgive others no matter how serious the offence may be.
Today’s first reading gives us an idea of what we are capable of doing when we are in close connection with God in prayer. God spoke directly to Joshua giving him specific instructions on how they were to cross the River Jordan. They walked through as though it was dry land.
No amount of technology or money or social influence or political power could have possibly made this happen. As Joshua said to the people: “…this is how you will know that there is a LIVING GOD in your midst…”
Today, we Christians often do not realise that what we stand to achieve by an active prayer life is far greater than anything the world can provide.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, increase my faith that I may learn to forgive and forget. Amen
Bible Study: Joshua 3:7-17, Psalm 114 and Matthew 18:21-19:1).