Forgiving Others and Being Forgiven

March 8, 2022
Tuesday of the First Week of Lent
Readings for Today

Saint John of God, Religious—Optional Memorial


“If you forgive men their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”  Matthew 6:14–15

This passage presents us with an ideal we must strive for.  It also presents us with the consequences if we do not strive for this ideal.  Forgive and be forgiven.  Both must be desired and sought after.

When forgiveness is properly understood, it is much easier to desire, give and receive.  When it is not properly understood, forgiveness can be seen as a confusing and heavy burden and, therefore, as something undesirable.

Perhaps the greatest challenge to the act of forgiving another is the sense of “justice” that can appear to be lost when forgiveness is given.  This is especially true when forgiveness is offered to someone who fails to ask forgiveness.  On the contrary, when one does ask for forgiveness, and expresses true remorse, it is much easier to forgive and to abandon the feeling that the offender should “pay” for what was done.  But when there is a lack of sorrow on the part of the offender, this leaves what can feel like a lack of justice if forgiveness is offered.  This can be a difficult feeling to overcome by ourselves.

It’s important to note that forgiving another does not excuse their sin.  Forgiveness does not mean that the sin did not happen or that it is OK that it happened.  Rather, forgiving another does the opposite.  Forgiving actually points to the sin, acknowledges it and makes it a central focus.  This is important to understand.  By identifying the sin that is to be forgiven, and then forgiving it, justice is done in a supernatural way.  Justice is fulfilled by mercy.  And the mercy offered has an even greater effect on the one offering mercy than the one it is offered to. 

By offering mercy for the sin of another, we become freed of the effects of their sin.  Mercy is a way for God to remove this hurt from our lives and free us to encounter His mercy all the more by the forgiveness of our own sins for which we could never deserve on our own effort. 

It’s also important to note that forgiving another does not necessarily result in reconciliation.  Reconciliation between the two can only happen when the offender accepts the forgiveness offered after humbly admitting their sin.  This humble and purifying act satisfies justice on a whole new level and enables these sins to be transformed into grace.  And once transformed, they can even go so far as to deepen the bond of love between the two.

Reflect, today, upon the person you most need to forgive.  Who is it and what have they done that has offended you?  Do not be afraid to offer the mercy of forgiveness and do not hesitate in doing so.  The mercy you offer will bring forth the justice of God in a way that you could never accomplish by your own efforts.  This act of forgiving also frees you from the burden of that sin, and enables God to forgive you of your sins.

My forgiving Lord, I am a sinner who is in need of Your mercy.  Help me to have a heart of true sorrow for my sins and to turn to You for that grace.  As I seek Your mercy, help me to also forgive the sins that others have committed against me.  I do forgive.  Help that forgiveness to enter deep into my whole being as an expression of Your holy and Divine Mercy.  Jesus, I trust in You.

40 Days at the Foot of the Cross:
A Gaze of Love From the Heart of Our Blessed Mother
Reflection Four – Spiritual Friendship
(Tues. of First Week of Lent)

Prayers for Peace

More Gospel Reflections

Divine Mercy Reflections

Resources for Lent

Scripture Meditations for Lent

All Saints/Feasts

Saint of the Day – Saint John of God, Religious

Mass Reading Options

Featured image above: The Triumphant Christ Forgiving Repentant Sinners By Jan Boeckhorst, via Wikimedia Commons

Two great books for Lent:

Lent and Easter Reflections
Updated for Lent & Easter 2022 with additional reflections and more detailed Table of Contents

Lent and Easter Reflections is one of four books that makes up the Catholic Daily Reflections Series. As a devotional it is a great resource for daily meditation and prayer offering reflections on the Gospel of the day in a practical, faithful and down-to-earth way. It is formatted in such a way that it can be used for any liturgical year, offering reflections on every Gospel option, including Sunday Years A, B & C, every daily Mass option and all Feasts and Solemnities. Allow the death and resurrection of Christ to transform your heart more fully this Lent and Easter!  It is also available in paperback & eBook format!

40 Days at the Foot of the Cross:
A Gaze of Love from the Heart of Our Blessed Mother

Through this daily devotional you are invited to prayerfully ponder the mind and heart of our Blessed Mother as she endured the great suffering inflicted upon her own dear Son.  Mother Mary faced the Cross of her Son with perfect faith, love and devotion. Her fidelity to her Son throughout His life was unwavering. As she stood before the Cross during those long three hours, that fidelity never ceased.

Daily Gospel Reflections for Lent!

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