Thursday, February 21, 2008
If most problems come from unforgiveness, we can understand why Jesus emphasizes forgiveness to an extreme degree. When Peter suggested to Jesus that we should forgive seven times, he was correct. (Mt 18:21) Seven in the Bible stands for an indefinite number of times, so Peter was saying we should forgive indefinitely. This is the correct answer but not the correct emphasis. Jesus proclaims we should forgive "seventy times seven," indefinitely times indefinitely. (Mt 18:22) Jesus further emphasizes forgiveness by saying God's kingdom is a matter of forgiveness and those who do not forgive are handed over to torturers. (Mt 18:23, 34) And when the disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray, Jesus told them to pray they be forgiven as they forgive. (Mt 6:12) This means prayer will hurt rather than help us if we do not forgive. This is the only point in the Lord's prayer on which Jesus commented. He reiterated: "If you forgive the faults of others, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours. If you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive you." (Mt 6:14-15) Jesus insists on forgiveness. We must pass on the forgiveness He has given us by the shedding of His blood on Calvary.
meditation: Fr. Al Lauer