"father, forgive" (lk 23:34)
"If he sins against you seven times a day, and seven times a day turns back to you saying, 'I am sorry,' forgive him." —Luke 17:4
We are made in the image and likeness of God (Gn 1:27). As disciples of Jesus, we try to be like Jesus in every aspect of our conduct (1 Pt 1:15). In this way, we are like God, for Jesus is God and the "exact Representation of the Father's Being" (Heb 1:3).
To be like God means to work, suffer, give, love, and forgive as God does. This means we must forgive seven times a day (Lk 17:4) and seventy times seven times (Mt 18:22), for we and billions of others frequently offend God and He keeps forgiving us. It is a conservative estimate to say that God forgives billions of times daily. That's what "seven" means — an infinite number.
To be like God, we too must forgive repeatedly and always. We must forgive those closest to us. Who else has the chance to wrong us seven times a day? We must forgive others repeatedly for the worst of injustices, even for scandals (Lk 17:1ff). Finally, we must forgive by God's standards. God's standards are not limited to just praying for or being nice to those who have hurt us; they also require giving offenders affection, gifts, and honor (Lk 15:20ff).
Forgiving others is impossible. Being like God is impossible. However, "nothing is impossible with God" (Lk 1:37). By God's grace, forgive everyone for everything, and do the impossible.
Prayer: Father, may I and others be shocked by my forgiving — both those who apologize and those who don't.
Promise: "In his teaching he must hold fast to the authentic message, so that he will be able both to encourage men to follow sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict it." —Ti 1:9
Praise: In his life, St. Josaphat, bishop of Vibetsk (now Lithuania), united the divided Eastern and Western Churches.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
(For a related teaching, order our leaflet on Unforgiveness is the Cause or our tape Unforgiveness on audio AV 41-1 or video V-41.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, May 10, 2012
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