Much has been written about forgiveness and still its meaning sometimes evades us.  We often think that forgiveness requires that the offending party ask for our forgiveness so that we can then magnanimously forgive them.  But what if the offending party has no clue they have offended us – or what if the offending party is no longer living?  How then can we forgive them?

When Jesus said we must forgive “seventy times seven” times, he left no instructions on how we are to do that.  And, I’m beginning to think that forgiveness is an inside job.  In other words, the forgiveness we need to offer others is something that must come first from inside of us, regardless of what others have done or said to us.  Our forgiveness has to begin with us because when we refuse to forgive, harboring the negative emotions can be like a cancer that eats away at us.  We are the ones damaged by refusing to forgive.

This Lent, let’s work on forgiveness.  Is there a person or persons we need to forgive?  What are we waiting for?  Forgiveness begins when we decide to make the first step.  It begins inside of us and may not even require that we confront the person who we feel has offended us.  Let’s practice taking leave of our grudges or hateful thoughts and think instead about forgiveness.  It is a form of loving that Jesus taught us and it may provide many graced moments.


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