March 1, 2016
Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent
The good news for the DayPeter approached Jesus to ask him, “Sir, say someone in my family blunders into harming me–how often do I have to forgive them? A full seven times?” Jesus says to him, “I am going to tell you—not seven times–but seventy-seven times. (Matthew 18, 21-22)
You and I find it hard to forgive and be forgiven—even though we ourselves blunder, and act arrogant and mean. We judge others. We accuse them of little things and big things—social mistakes, being dirty, wrong words, political differences, religious idiocy—it goes on and on. “Sin” in ancient parlance refers to “trespass/intrusion” and “blunder” as much as—if not more than—any guilt-laden choice. It is anything you do wrong.
The difference—Jesus says–between “you” and “them”—lies in your openhearted generosity. You forgive “faults” completely (77times). You treat someone who stumbles into harming you as your own family—and you see everybody as part of your family—their meanness as well as virtues, their achievements as well as shortcomings, their blunders, struggles and incompleteness—as well as good will, effort and hope
Hard as it may be to find a forgiving heart at times, you forgive faults because you appreciate with humility and quiet modesty that you have your own. So many “sins” are really just mistakes, stumbles, errors, misjudgment and the like. The Semitic term we translate as “sin” lacks moral strength—a sin is any damage done, any deviance against the order of the universe—any hurtful control or intrusion into another person’s life.
The Good News is that forgiveness shares the power of God to remedy love; it is the al ways. Recognition of your family bond—the mirror you are of one another—enables the dissolution of “sin.”