Uncluttered Relationships: 23 March

Forgiveness

Abba Agathon was asked how sincere love for one’s neighbour might be made know. He responded: "Love is to find a leper, to take his body, and gladly to give him your own."

Reading: Matthew 6:9-15

This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Thought

Jesus was well aware that, when we are enraged, we are "beside ourselves" – no longer capable of rational thought or loving action. We cannot even pray, and thus we are left wide open to the most hideous suggestions of the Evil One. People in towering rages commit murder. Anger can literally make us crazy.

Which is why, of course, we have Jesus’ command to forgive, without exception, those who have hurt us. I’d always thought this command a harsh one, im­possible to follow. After all, there were moral monsters who did such terrible things that forgiving them felt like condon­ing evil. And what about justice? How could it be just to forgive those who perpetrated atrocities?

Jesus knew that, if it were up to us to judge who deserved forgiveness and who did not, few of us would forgive at all. Instead, we’d cherish our self-righteous rage, nurture our anger, and soon find ourselves on the road to self-destruction. We cannot be trusted to pick and choose whom we will forgive. And so, as followers of Christ, we are told to forgive without measure.

Action

Today, I am going to try and think of someone who has made me angry.

Prayer

Lord I pray about my hurt and I pray for the person who caused my pain. Release me from the anger which is holding me hos­tage. Set me free from the person I have chained myself to through and unforgiving heart.