A CATECHISM ON FORGIVENESS

“How often must I forgive him?” –Matthew 18:21

Peter questioned Jesus: “How often must I forgive” my brother? Jesus answered: “seventy times seven times.” We must forgive all who have hurt us indefinitely times indefinitely (Mt 18:22). Other questions about forgiveness are the following:

Question: Do I have the power to forgive?

Answer: No, “to err is human; to forgive is divine.” Only God has the power to forgive.

Q: Then how can I forgive?

A: You can decide to accept God’s grace to forgive. This grace is always available.

Q: How quickly must I forgive?

A: Immediately. Otherwise, you may be handed “over to the torturers” (Mt 18:34; see also Eph 4:26; Mt 5:25).

Q: How do I know if I have forgiven someone?

A:When you have forgiven someone, you will show mercy to them, that is, you will treat them better than they deserve, as the forgiving father treated his prodigal son (see Lk 15:20ff).

Q: Must I forgive those who continue to hurt me?

A: Yes, or you will not be forgiven yourself (Mt 6:12).

Q: Is forgiveness condoning the sins of others?

A: Not at all. The Lord has forgiven all our sins and has never condoned any sin (see Jn 8:11).

Q: What if I don’t want to forgive?

A: Ask the Lord to make you willing to forgive.

PRAYER: Father, “forgive us the wrong we have done as we forgive those who wrong us” (Mt 6:12).

PROMISE: “Moved with pity, the master let the official go and wrote off the debt.” –Mt 18:27

PRAISE: St. Clare treated both family and enemies with mercy. She gave up all worldly possessions to follow her true love, Jesus.

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