“Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.“ (Mt 18:21-22, NRSVCE)
ABOUT THE CARTOON …
In this cartoon, we see an “everyday guy” keeping score of how many times he has forgiven a guy named Joe. Forgiveness is an important part of our pilgrimage to heaven, but this guy in the cartoon might not truly understand the concept.
PAUSE TO REFLECT …
“One” is an important number for Jesus. He was one with the Father. He was one with His disciples. He start one Church that He promised to build and protect from evil (Mt 16:18). And He wanted us to be one with each other. If you put “one” together with God, you, and others, you begin to see how forgiveness is necessary at every level or it doesn’t work.
To receive His mercy and His grace, you must be willing to reflect His mercy and His grace. You don’t “earn” it as much as you “enter” into it.
DISCIPLESHIP TIME …
Take time to consider the following questions:
- Try to remember something foolish that you and your siblings used to argue about. If you can’t remember, perhaps you can remember something foolish your children argued about. Prayerfully think about it.
- Think about Jesus’ message to forgive seventy time seven. What does that mean? What is He suggesting? Why What are some of the challenges to forgiving others?
- How might refusing to forgive others actually deny mercy to yourself. It’s more than a “new rule.” There’s a spiritual logic behind it. What is that logic?
- How can we forgive and forgive and forgive without encouraging irresponsibility and even addiction in others around us? Be able to explain your answer to someone else.
FORMATION TIME …
Based on the cartoon above, the Bible stories, and your own personal reflection:
- What are you doing now in your life that you ought to stop doing?
- What are you not doing right now that you ought to start doing?
- Or what are you doing now that you can continue doing, but you need to change how you’re doing it?
NEXT STEPS …
It’s about answering God’s call. He died for your sins so you wouldn’t have to. And now, He wants to forgive you of all your sins and transgressions. But He also wants you to forgive others of all their sins and transgressions. Think of someone you still feel resentment towards. Begin a conversation with God about how you can completely forgive that person of any faults.