Saint Martin of Tours, Bishop (Memorial)

 

You should forgive him. 

 

“How can Jesus expect me to forgive someone who has hurt me so much or so often?”   Jesus knows how hard it can be to forgive, but he still wants us to try.   Perhaps we feel deeply hurt, offended, or betrayed.   Or maybe the sheer repetition of even a minor offense has left us exhausted or exasperated.   Still, Jesus says, “Forgive.”   There are no conditions or loopholes to the command. Simply forgive.

So you can understand how overwhelmed the apostles seem at the prospect. “Increase our faith” they cry out (Luke 17:5).   This is too hard.   We don’t have anywhere near the amount of faith we need if we’re going to put this into practice.

But Jesus disagrees.   All they need is faith the size of a tiny mustard seed.   If they just take that little bit of faith and put it into practice by trying to forgive, they will find their capacity for mercy growing.

Because the topic of forgiveness can be so fraught with pain, we should keep one important point in mind: forgiveness is only part of the equation, especially when it comes to serious offenses.   Jesus doesn’t want us persisting in abusive relationships, for instance, if there is no attempt at true change.   It’s not healthy just to pardon someone and let the offenses keep coming.   Sometimes we need outside help to bring true healing and resolution to a hurtful relationship.

But very often, it’s the little, everyday things that we need to forgive—the driver who cuts us off in traffic or the child who keeps leaving his laundry all around the house.   That’s exactly where we can make progress!   Take the faith that you have—even if it seems too small for the task—and do what you can.   Take just one small step today.   And then take another step tomorrow.   And the next day.   Eventually, your grip will loosen, and you’ll be able to let go.   Just keep on praying, “Jesus, I don’t want to forgive, but I want to make a start and trust that you’ll help me over time.”

All it takes is a mustard seed of faith to start forgiving.

“Thank you, Jesus, for the faith you have given me.   Lord, increase my faith!   Help me to choose to forgive!”

Wisdom 1:1-7
Psalm 139:1-10

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