3 O'Clock Prayer

The Power of Forgiveness

by Fr. Andrew Batare

One of the greatest aspects of the act of forgiveness is the purifying and ennobling effects it has upon the personality and character of the forgiver. It is obvious that those who refuse to forgive a wrong or injuries are yet to taste one of the sublime pleasures of life. The human soul seldom rises to such heights of strength and nobility as when it removes all resentments and forgives errors and malice.

Retaliation certainly is not an acceptable norm in conflict resolution; the Lord’s  beautiful Sermon on the Mount provides for a better way, one without revenge or retaliation. (Matthew 5:7). For St. Paul, evil should not be repaid for evil; “beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord,’” (Romans 12:17,19). On the contrary, many people think that real life is much more complicated than that and during life, with real enemies, one cannot just simply go around loving and forgiving everybody.

However, considering the prevalence of acts of terrorism and indiscriminate killings in the world today, resulting from conflicts between states and nations, forgiveness has become an indispensable tool for healing the wounds of this troubled world. The challenge to forgive for the sake of world peace becomes imperative and cannot be underestimated. This is because society is generally in absolute need for peace and forgiveness. Families, groups, societies, states, nations and the international community itself need forgiveness in order to resuscitate ties that have been sundered.

Ultimately, the Old Testament presents God as He to whom belong mercy and forgiveness (Daniel 9:9). God is a God of grace, a God of pardons, a God of ready to forgive, (Nehemiah 17). In the New Testament, practical acts of forgiveness were demonstrated by Stephen and Paul but the climax and model of all forgiveness is seen expressed in the example of the person of Jesus Christ.

The forgiving heart is the symbol of true greatness. We have the supreme example of fortitude, kindness, charity and forgiveness in Him who set the perfect example, Our Saviour, Jesus Christ, who commands us all to follow His example. Christ was beaten, scourged; He wore a crown of thorns, a wicked torture; He was mocked and jeered at; He suffered every indignity at the hands of His own people. But during His crucifixion, He looked upon the Roman soldiers and said passionately, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!”

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