Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Forgiveness Heals

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Forgiveness Heals

Article excerpt

QUARRELS, disputes, misunderstandings--all of these present us with opportunities to forgive. Even on the national scene, an ability to forgive enables politicians to work together and to establish peace with other countries. When the ability to forgive is lost, senseless wars such as the one in the Balkans tend to result. The Biblical roots of forgiveness are perhaps deepest in the life of Christ Jesus, who forgave even those who crucified him. Matthew's Gospel reports that, earlier in Jesus' career, Peter--one of his followers--asked: "Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?" Peter may have thought he was being particularly generous in offering to make that much of an effort. But even seven times wasn't sufficient to meet the standard Christ Jesus was setting. The Bible tells us, "Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven" (18:21, 22). That might seem like a lot of forgiveness! Yet if we under-stand our relationship to God in the way that Jesus taught it, we can begin to see the effect of this approach. Certainly Jesus had more than his share of detractors and enemies. But the Master did not counterattack or seek revenge; he prayed. He knew man to be spiritual and inseparable from God, and he let this fact guide his thoughts and action. What does this have to do with forgiveness? A great deal, ac-tually. When we understand that we have an unbreakable relationship to God, who is the giver of all good, we also know that nothing can ever separate us from His infinite love. This perfect unity is the foundation of all success in life. To indulge the hatred, resentment, and so forth that flourish when we fail to forgive is to deny our spiritual nature and to reject the love of God. …
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