Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Forgive and be forgiven

In yesterday's Gospel reading Jesus instructs us how to pray and teaches us the Our Father.  The reading ends with "If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions." (Mt 6:14-15).  These are pretty strong words that are easy to overlook.
 
We live in a society that promotes the saying that "revenge is sweet".  How many movies begin by the hero being victimized and then paying back the abusers with violence?  I know when I watch previews for these types of shows (Edge of Darkness and Law Abiding Citizen are two I noticed recently) I cheer in my heart when the bad guys "get what they deserve".
 
But is this how Christ tells us to live?
 
Revenge has been described as an acid that does more damage to the container than it does to the object it is poured on.  In other words, harboring grudges does more damage to the grudge holder than the person we hold a grudge against.  Unforgiveness weighs us down, locks us away from the people around us, and as Jesus says it prevents the forgiveness by God of our own sins.
 
This Lent let's think about the people who have hurt us and the grudges we hold.  Let's offer them as a Lenten sacrifice and ask Christ to work in us to help us forgive so that we may be forgiven and so we may be free of the burden of anger.

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