Forgiving…Seven Times a Day

Monday, November 13, 2017

Monday of the Thirty-Second Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, Virgin – USA Memorial

Photo Attribution: Waiting for the Word – Flikr

“Be on your guard!  If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.  And if he wrongs you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times saying, ‘I am sorry,’  you should forgive him.”  Luke 17:3-4

Complete forgiveness can be very difficult at times.  This is especially the case when the same person sins against you “seven times in one day” as Jesus says.  

But Jesus’ words should be taken to heart.  He was not being idealistic; rather, He was being very realistic.  Forgiveness must be given, over and over and over again.  We cannot hesitate in offering it, especially to those who sincerely repent.

One of the first things we should notice from this passage is that when someone sins against us, we should rebuke him.  The rebuke is not to be an act focused on revenge; rather, it must be done so as to invite repentance.  This is the only reason for the rebuke of another.  If we have a sense that someone who sins against us may be open to change, then we must offer them a rebuke of love.  And when they accept it and seek our forgiveness, we must offer it.

But, as mentioned, this can especially be difficult when the sin is committed over and over again.  It can become wearying and discouraging.  And when a sin is committed over and over again, it’s easy to become sceptical about the authentic sorrow of the one seeking forgiveness.

But none of that should be our concern.  Our only concern should be to hear those words, “I’m sorry.”  This is the command of Jesus.  When one says these words, we must forgive and do so immediately.

This Scripture also reveals to us the importance of expressing our sorrow to those whom we hurt.  It’s dangerous to simply presume that another will forgive.  There is great power in actually saying to another, “Please forgive me, I’m sorry for my sin.”  Though these words may be difficult to say, they are words of great healing.

Reflect, today, upon the act of asking for forgiveness and offering it to another.  We are all given numerous opportunities every day to forgive and seek forgiveness.  Do not hesitate in doing so and you will be grateful you did.

Lord, I am truly sorry for the many sins I have committed against You.  Please forgive me.  When I am obstinate, please offer me a rebuke of love.  When I need to ask forgiveness of another, please give me the courage to do so.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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