"Pardon, and you shall be pardoned. Give, and it shall be given to you." —Luke 6:37-38
We receive according to the measure in which we give. Yet we cannot give to God and others until we have forgiven. "If you bring your gift to the altar and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift at the altar, go first to be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift" (Mt 5:23-24). Unforgiveness leaves us spiritually paralyzed at the foot of the altar, unable to give, receive, or live the Christian life.
Consequently, we must lose no time in forgiving others and being reconciled (Mt 5:25). We must not let the sun go down on our anger; otherwise, the devil will work on us (Eph 4:26-27). By the grace of God, we should decide to forgive as quickly as we're offended, even if we're hurt seventy times seven times.
Unforgiveness prevents us from receiving anything from God (Sir 28:2-5), but opens the door for us to receive other things. Jesus calls these things "torturers" (Mt 18:34). When we don't forgive, we can receive self-hatred, depression, loneliness, anxiety, compulsive behavior, etc. What we receive depends secondarily on our giving and primarily on our forgiving. Our forgiving depends completely on our relationship with Jesus.
Prayer: Father, give me, in Jesus, the divine power to forgive.
Promise: "Justice, O Lord, is on Your side." —Dn 9:7
Praise: The decision of a Christian community to forgive the person who murdered several of their children was a powerful witness to the nation of the truth of the gospel.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our leaflet Unforgiveness is the Cause or on audio AV 41-1 or video V-41.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 14, 2007
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