At the top of the list of things that belong to Christianity, forgiveness is the necessary one and at the same time, one of the most difficult.
The whole plan of Salvation consists of offering forgiveness for humanity in a fallen state. The gift of God that is forgiveness is a gift to be received and to be offered.
Ask yourself what is the most difficult thing to forgive. For everyone it is different. In this time of the year so close to September 11th, many feelings come back to us, or maybe never left. Well that is the one that you are to be able to forgive. One of the challenges we face as a community and as a society is to forgive. In words of the Pope: “The world needs forgiveness; too many people are caught up in resentment and harbor hatred because they are incapable of forgiving. They ruin their own lives and the lives of those around them rather than finding the joy of serenity and peace…” (Pope Francis)
When we look at our life and the life of others, we will see that all the difficulties and problems in relationships are based on some wrong doing from any of the parts, things that many times cannot be changed, but also all those actions are followed by our lack of forgiveness. This last element prolongs the mistake of the past to a future without end.
While it is true we cannot change the past, occasionally we allow the past to continue to hurt us in the present because of our inability to move on or let it go. That happened because of the absence of forgiveness.
Forgiveness is not just a way to live for the believer, but is found in human nature. Forgiveness liberates the one who offers it, and frees the one who receives it. We should understand that forgiveness is born from love: “Certainly forgiveness does not come spontaneously or naturally to people,” “Forgiving from the heart can sometimes be heroic. . . . Thanks to the healing power of love, even the most wounded heart can experience the liberating encounter with forgiveness.” (JP II).
When we gather in prayer, many times we ask for peace but peace cannot be obtained without forgiveness. “Real peace is not just a matter of structures and mechanisms,” wrote Pope John Paul II. “It rests above all on the adoption of a style of human coexistence marked by mutual acceptance and a capacity to forgive from the heart. We all need to be forgiven by others, so we must all be ready to forgive. Asking and granting forgiveness is something profoundly worthy of every one of us.”
Sometimes people may see forgiveness as a weakens, foolheartedly naïveté; and see revenge as a strength. But the truth is that anyone can retaliate, but to forgive…is difficult and not all can do it. We all need forgiveness, and in it dwells the real strength.
In this time when we ask and pray for peace, forgiveness is the answer. In a world that fights for freedom, it is forgiveness that make our hearts truly free. When the world praises the strong, the ability to forgive makes us and will make the world strong, because at the culminant moment of His life, Jesus did not ask for revenge. He offered forgiveness, and His forgiveness brought to our world peace and made us strong.