[Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
“Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive him?
As many as seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.] (Mt. 18:21-22)
How great is God’s mercy? How willing is He to forgive? AND How selective is our mercy? How unwilling are we to forgive? Though we may not articulate the point as St. Peter did, I think many of us harbor a similar sentiment—what is the minimum amount of forgiveness and mercy I am expected to extend? Jesus expresses God’s readiness to forgive, and commands His disciples (and us) to do likewise.
Showing mercy towards those who have offended us is tough enough, but accepting mercy extended to us by God can sometimes be even more difficult. “How can God forgive me for what I’ve done? Can He really forgive me?” I think this is precisely why we have a hard time forgiving others—we haven’t accepted God’s forgiveness of our own sins. “If God can’t forgive me, I can’t forgive others. I can’t give what I haven’t received.”
God is more than willing to forgive and desires to forgive. Jesus makes this clear by His words today and His actions on Good Friday as He exclaims from the cross, “Father forgive them. They know not what they do” (Lk. 23:34).
Why haven’t you allowed God to forgive a certain sin(s) you’ve committed? Do you fear God’s boundless love? Spend some time with Jesus today and explore your heart and His. Be honest with yourself and Him. Allow Jesus to meet you in the uncomfortableness, and begin to experience His love and mercy.