Updated: Apr 1
February 24, 2021
As Christians, the phrase, “Do unto others...” holds a special place in our vernacular. The verse from Matthew can be referred to as, The Golden Rule.
If we like to follow The Golden Rule, why do many of us struggle with forgiveness?
In modern society, we are taught to tell others, “I’m sorry” when we have offended, harmed, or even displeased them. How easy it can be to use “I’m sorry” as a mantra, repeating those words over and over, as if each time the words are mentioned, the offense, harm, or displeasure dissipates. Our Jewish sisters and brothers see forgiveness differently, they practice Mechilah, a pardon, that is granted to those who have shown remorse and repentance. This pardon is not obligatory.
How different would the world be if we practiced The Golden Rule with each other, granting others pardon, just as we would hope to be pardoned for our wrongdoings?
Christ offers Peter an equation, 70 times 7 which equals 490 when Peter asked how many times we should forgive others. Most of us know that Jesus did not offer Peter a set number of times until someone can no longer be pardoned, rather, forgiveness is something we offer to one another, just as God has offered forgiveness for all at any moment. For those of us who enjoy daily or annual goals, my challenge for anyone brave enough is this:
Consider an antagonist(s) in your life, someone who you may not want to pardon. If you offered them your forgiveness, every day, for 490 days, the same forgiveness that you would want from our God, would you pardon them on the 491st day?
Aaron Leslie Clawson (he/him) has been a parishioner for over a decade. Some of his parish involvement includes RCIA, Lector, Eucharistic Minister, Pride Outreach, Night Shelter, Pastoral Council, and Teens' Confirmation. He is a Marriage and Family Therapy Intern and volunteers with Atlanta Cursillo and Kairos Prison Ministry.
These reflections are meant to challenge us in our journey through Lent. Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments with us.