"father, forgive" (lk 23:34)
"If he sins against you seven times a day, and seven times a day turns back to you saying, 'I am sorry,' forgive him." —Luke 17:4
We are made in the image and likeness of God (Gn 1:27). As disciples of Jesus, we try to be like Jesus in every aspect of our conduct (1 Pt 1:15). In this way, we are like God, for Jesus is God and the "exact Representation of the Father's Being" (Heb 1:3).
To be like God means to work, suffer, give, love, and forgive as God does. This means we must forgive seven times a day (Lk 17:4) and seventy times seven times (Mt 18:22), for we and billions of others frequently offend God and He keeps forgiving us. It is a conservative estimate to say that God forgives billions of times daily. That's what "seven" means — an infinite number.
To be like God, we too must forgive repeatedly and always. We must forgive those closest to us. Who else has the chance to wrong us seven times a day? We must forgive others repeatedly for the worst of injustices, even for scandals (Lk 17:1ff). Finally, we must forgive by God's standards. His standards are not limited to just praying for or being nice to those who have hurt us; they also require giving offenders affection, gifts, and honor (Lk 15:20ff).However, "nothing is impossible with God" (Lk 1:37). By God's grace, forgive everyone for everything.
Prayer: Father, may I and others be shocked by my forgiving — both those who apologize and those who don't.
Promise: "The apostles said to the Lord, 'Increase our faith.' " Lk 17:5
Praise: St. Josaphat was martyred while risking his life for Church unity. St. Josaphat, pray that we all may be one, as the Father and Son are one (Jn 17:21).
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
(For a related teaching on Unforgiveness is the Cause, order, view, or download our leaflet or order, view, or download our DVD 41 on our website.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, May 3, 2018
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