The Benefit of Forgiving
By Father Apolinar Samboni
Jesus Christ taught us the greatest prayer called, “The Lord’s Prayer,” which even the least involved Catholic in the Church knows. Many times, we pray this prayer without being aware of the commitment that is implied when we say, “Forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6:12) It is very easy to know it, recite it quickly, but we are not aware of the great commitment to forgive others’ offenses.
The complications appear when someone wants to put you down. Obviously, it is hard to forgive, we do not accept excuses that are offered, nor do we admit that we are wrong and hurt as well. We prefer hatred rather than the benefit of forgiveness. It is easier to show an evil face to that person, to speak ill of the one who has injured us, or to find a way to get revenge. We prefer to lock ourselves in our room, house, or work, feeling anger against our attacker. It is necessary to know that hate only destroys the person who feels it. Perhaps the perceived attack is inconsequential to the one responsible, while the “victim” is eaten up with hate.
In everyday life, it is very easy to see people who are bitter in life, who cry without consolation, remember all the evil others have done to them. Some people seem to have a virtual recorder that is capable of recording every hurt, and that they keep reviewing over and over. We would like to go back in time to avoid that painful situation and wonder why there are evil people in life. Many situations happened a long time ago, but we remember it as if it were happening right now. Perhaps, that person who upset you could be your wife, husband, son, daughter, neighbor, coworker, classmate, teacher, catechist, or anyone who was related to you in any way. Many people say I forgive you, but I do not forget it, insuring that you keep your pain, and implying that you turn your back to God. Forgiving implies starting a new relationship with that person who hurt you and asking God to give you everything to heal you.
Forgiveness is the gift to live at peace with yourself and with others. Peter asks Jesus: “Lord if my brother sins against me, how often I must forgive him? As many as seven times? Jesus answered, I said to you not seven times but seventy-seven times” (Matthew 18:21) It denotes forgiving thousands and thousands of times those who trouble you. Santa Teresa said that when others bother you, they were the kisses that God gives you. It is a little complicated to understand it, but not when you open to God’s will. He will give you all the blessings you need.
Personally, I tell you that hatred is the worst hell a person can live in this earthly life. I invite you to seek help, so you can get closer to God, enjoy life, work, and family. Remember, forgiveness is the best gift you can give to live happily.