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.”
Many of us pray The Our Father almost daily. Yet do we really forgive those that hurt us in some way?
I am familiar with something that occurred many years ago. A woman and her accomplice took money from an old man who could not afford that theft. For awhile the theft went unnoticed. When the theft became public years later the woman pleaded for forgiveness. She had developed cancer and her survival was doubtful. In spite of her repeated efforts she was not forgiven by the family. She eventually died and the family prayed for her.
But she was gone and forgiving her could only be done after the fact of her passing.
She was considered a scam artist by many people. She was also a devoted wife, mother and a friend to many.
She eventually repaid the money and the man she had taken it from long ago forgave her even though he never understood why she had done it.
You see he was a holy man even though flawed as the rest of us but he had faith and somehow knew how to get past the hurt and to see her as she was; a person trying to do the best she could. She was flawed and yet she had reasons for taking the money.
When she knew her time on this earth was limited she sought tangible forgiveness. She went to the man’s son but did not receive the solace she sought. He would not forgive her.
At that moment in time the son’s soul was barren. He thought he knew everything and was capable of making his own decision about her. He did not give one thought to the Our Father. He did not know the Gospel of Matthew. He ignored his memories of the Old Man.
Years later when he matured and God’s grace entered his being he remembered the example of the Old Man. He prayed for the woman who stole the money and forgave her. He wished he had done this while she was alive.
He also knew the Gospel of Matthew and knew he should forgive not only seven times but seventy-seven times. He knew what was really important; it wasn’t the money. He learned the lesson from Jesus and included The Our Father in his daily prayers.
The lesson of “forgiveness” is still with him. The woman who stole the money and begged for forgiveness taught him an invaluable life lesson. Maybe she was an instrument of the Lord.
Perhaps the son is the one who really needs forgiveness!