With its repeated and insistent plea for the triumph of truth for the pursuant emergence of justice for the eventual the reign of peace, Christianity also proclaims and affirms the imperative of forgiveness – specially during the Lenten Season. The virtue and need of forgiving have two basic elements: Man begging God for His forgiveness on account his sins, and man granting forgiveness to others on account of their sins to him.
Nothing less than the Sacred Scriptures say that the Lord Jesus taught but one prayer. And among the pleadings therein contained, this is prayed for: “Forgive us as sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” It cannot be more specific and concrete as this: The forgiveness asked of God cannot but go hand-in-hand with the forgiveness given to others. And rightly so: How could someone have forgiveness from the almighty Father without forgiving his fellowmen?
There are many objective rational, spiritual and emotional benefits brought about to the forgiver when this precisely forgives others: First is the basis why he himself may ask God for his own forgiveness. Second is the release of the resentment and anger towards one’s offenders. Third is the re-establishment of good relationship between him and God Whom he offended, between him and others who offended him. The reality is that all these are in the context of loving God and loving neighbors – the two fundamental Commandments of Divine Law.
The above mentioned truth and justice – as the double premise of peace – is deliberate in order to bring to fore one significant dimension of forgiveness. This: When someone forgives somebody, this is in effect forgiven as far as the former – the forgiver – is concerned. But such a human forgiveness does not necessarily bring divine forgiveness to the one thus humanly forgiven. This has to seek and ask his forgiveness from God Himself Whom he offended by sinning against others.
More. When someone forgives somebody, this is definitely not rendered over and above the import of truth and the demands of human and/or divine justice. Meaning: Though already forgiven by someone he has offended, the personal forgiveness thus given does not ipso facto cancel the necessary stipulation of truth together with the rightful demands of justice.
The thesis is clear: As we ask God for forgiveness of our sins, as we grant forgiveness to those who sin against us, let the person forgiven be very aware that he still has to seek God’s forgiveness, in the same what that he is not altogether free from the emergence of truth and the triumph of justice.
WED. 16 MARCH 2011