Among the hardest sayings of Jesus are the ones which tell us to forgive other unconditionally. He also teaches us to ask God every day for forgiveness in the Lord’s Prayer - as we forgive those who sin against us. Jesus can ask that of us because he himself called on the Father to forgive even those who were crucifying him. Forgiveness is not easy but it should not be confused with reconciliation. One may forgive someone something without them ever acknowledging that they did anything wrong! Being able to forgive usually does not mean just returning to cosy familiarity or friendly relations with the one who has hurt us – it may simply mean letting go of the hurt and moving on. The most important thing about forgiveness is that it releases us from the chains that bind us. Clinging bitterly to a past hurt means being trapped in a net of someone else’s making: the person who has hurt me has moved in and dwells continually in my life. Forgiveness is a liberation from that.
Almighty God, your Son came to save us
and bore our sins on the cross:
may we trust in your mercy
and know your love,
rejoicing in the forgiveness
that is ours through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen