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Forgiveness


Eleventh Sun­day After Pen­te­cost. [I Cor. 9:2–12; Matt. 18:23–35] The Lord con­clud­ed the para­ble about the two debtors with the fol­low­ing words: So like­wise shall My Heaven?ly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts for­give not every one his broth­er their tres­pass­es. It would seem that such a small thing is need­ed: for­give and you will be for?given. When you are for­giv­en, you are brought into mer­cy; and when you are brought into mer­cy, you have become a par­tic­i­pant in all the trea­sures of mer­cy. So here is salva?tion, and par­adise, and eter­nal bliss. What a great acqui­si­tion for such a small thing as for­giv­ing!… Yes, it is a small thing, but for our self-love there is noth­ing more dif­fi­cult than to for­give. We still per­haps for­give some unin­ten­tion­al annoy­ance dealt us in pri­vate so that nobody sees; but if it is just a bit more sensi?tive, and in front of peo­ple, do not even ask — no for­give­ness. There are cir­cum­stances when whether you want to or not, you are not al?lowed to express your dis­plea­sure — and so you remain silent. Howev?er, only your tongue is silent —mean­while your heart speaks and builds evil plans. Raise the annoy?ance yet anoth­er degree — and there is no restraint. Nei­ther shame, nor fear, nor loss, nor any oth­er thing will restrain you. Ego­ism which has reached the boil­ing point makes a per­son as though insane, and he who gives in to it begins to talk fool­ish­ness. The peo­ple most sub­ject to this mis­for­tu­nate state are usu­al­ly not just any­body — the more civ­i­lized one is, the more sen?sitive he is to insults, and the less for­giv­ing. Rela­tions will often re?main smooth on the sur­face, but in?wardly there is clear­ly dis­cord. Mean­while, the Lord requires that we for­give with our whole heart.

Saint Theo­phan the Recluse