He was offended. He felt angry. He felt hurt. He held hatred in his heart.
But one day, he understood the values and benefits of forgiveness. As a result, he told himself to forgive. He said softly the words of forgiveness. He prayed and promised in his heart that he had completely forgiven the offender. Done!
But, it was not done yet.
Sometimes his mind brought back the memories of being offended. Vividly clear!
His heart boiled again.
The memories were as fresh as they had just happened a few minutes before that.
He had forgiven but he did not forget yet.
Because of his not being able to forget, his heart got enraged, again.
How to forget? The natural function of the human memory is to keep what has happened, isn’t it?
He was conscious that he was like living again the past.
How to reconcile the forgiveness with the unforgettable memories?
He tried to find a way out…Tired!
Finally, he discovered a key to solve his problem: telling his heart to continue to forgive again whenever the hurt memories were brought back, meaning that he would need to actively forgive many (more) times for the same incident. He applied this discovery and gained a lot of peace.
Memory is a part that is very human and normal. Therefore, it’s not absolutely necessary to forget the bad past before we can have a relief in our heart. Indeed, we only need to tell our heart to continue to forgive when a negative memory reappears.
Actually, his discovery is not something new because this key has been existing there for more than two thousand years.
One day, Peter asked Jesus: “How many times do I need to forgive others when they offend me? Seven times?”
Seven is a symbolic number in the Bible that indicates wholeness, completeness, unlimitedness. That is the significance, but in the stubborn narrowness of the human being made of bone and flesh, seven may only equal six plus one. To forgive 6 +1 is already a difficult thing to do.
Jesus gives the answer to Peter, a wise answer that has the power to liberate and bring back peace to the forgiver: “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.” In a literal sense, it’s 490 times. If we keep forgiving that many times, we will create a firm forgiving habit and capacity within us. In a more profound biblical sense, seventy times seven means always, forever, without limit. In brief, we need to forgive others as God forgives us.
Why do we need to forgive so many times like that? Because there is no better way. To know the exact result of this, do it and we will see. Wonders will take place.
Forgiving is liberating our spirit from being heavily chained.
Forgiving is wisely open to peace for ourselves.
Forgiving is knowing how to love ourselves.
Forgiving is neutralizing tension and creating harmony for our living environment.
Forgiving others is to gain forgiveness for ourselves.
Forgiving ourselves is to gain forgiveness for others.
Forgiving is our duty since we have been forgiven so many times by God. (Mt 6:14, 18:35; Col 3:13)
Forgive with no need of being apologized so that our forgiveness may be noble.
Forgiveness only brings benefits and no harm.
Forgiveness is a name of love – love for self and love for others.
“God is love!” (1Gioan 4:8)
The one who loves is in the likeness of God.
The one who forgives knows who God is.
And, God wants all to have the full and best happiness.
We can offer our forgiveness to God as a prayer for someone we love. Simple, but holy and beautiful!
Now, he has understood.
He gently prays the Our Father.
Joseph Viet, O.Carm.
in Vietnamese: https://only3minutes.wordpress.com/tieng-viet/tha-thu/