Now I’m a simmerer, if someone insults me or makes me angry I usually don’t “blow up” but my anger and resentment simmers inside of me like a burning tyre that refuses to go out, it just keeps on slowly smouldering even if it isn’t a blazing fire! Today’s first reading is a great lesson for people like me it says
“Resentment and anger, these are foul things, and both are found with the sinner. Forgive your neighbour the hurt he does you, and when you pray, your sins will be forgiven. If a man nurses anger against another, can he then demand compassion from the Lord? Remember the last things, and stop hating”
It’s easy to harbour a grudge, especially with those we are closest too, how many times in our own families have we seen certain people not talking to each other because of something that happened twenty years ago. Wouldn’t it be better to just let it go and patch up our differences? Of course this is easier said than done, what if you make the attempt to reconcile but the other party will not? All we can do in these situations is forgive them from our heart and pray for them, letting go of our own anger is the first step on our way to God, the heat of our own anger will only send us to the eternal heat of the Hell of our own making, where we will smoulder in our own anger and resentment for all eternity.
Peter in today’s Gospel asks Jesus, “Lord, how often must I forgive my brother if he wrongs me? As often as seven times?” Jesus answered, “Not seven, I tell you, but seventy-seven times.”
Now Jesus isn’t telling Peter to keep a tally of how many times he forgives and then to stop forgiving once he reaches seventy seven times! He is saying we must live our lives in the spirit of forgiveness. This isn’t to say we should stand by when we are done wrong by or insulted, we are quite at liberty to explain to the wrongdoer the hurt or injustice they have committed, but we aren’t to harbour the wrongdoing, we are to forgive. If we find that we cant forgive, then pray to the Lord, ask Him to help us, say to him, “whenever I see that person my blood boils, Lord help me to overcome myself”
I can probably count the number of times I’ve said “I’m sorry” on the fingers of one hand (this isn’t including the times when I have inadvertently bumped into someone in the grocery shop and said “Oops Sorry”)
Saying sorry is a very hard thing to do, but what a great way to start the forgiving process than to say sorry to the person we have slighted. This opens up the way to forgiveness, it’s a lot easier to forgive someone who is sorry. So let’s help our brothers and sisters to forgive us by acknowledging when we have done wrong and saying “Sorry”