THIS IS WHAT we should do if ever we become a victim of some offense by someone. We should be quick to forgive and then move on, focused on doing what we are supposed to do. We should avoid getting stuck with the offense, wallowing in anguish, complaints and hatred, and keeping resentments, grudges and desires for revenge.
Let’s remember that all of us have sins that need to be forgiven also. And as Christ said it clearly, we can only be forgiven if we also forgive others. “If you will forgive men their offenses, your heavenly Father will forgive you also your offenses,” he said. “But if you will not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive you your offenses.” (Mt 6, 14-15)
Other relevant gospel passages are the following: “Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.” (Mk 11, 25) “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Lk 6, 37)
We have to develop the proper attitude in this particular issue because, truth to tell, we cannot avoid being offended by others just as neither can we avoid offending others also. That’s part of our human condition here on earth.
We have to have compassion and mercy for everyone, not condemnation. We have to have desires for redemption of the offender, the lost sheep, and not rejection. This was what Christ has taught and shown us.
While we may have to sort out things through the requirements of justice, may it be that our concern for justice does not undermine in any way our charity, our compassion for those who have offended us.
It would be better to suffer losses, defeats, misunderstanding, etc., than to lose charity and compassion. This way we liken ourselves, as we should, with Christ, who is the pattern of our humanity, “the way, the truth and the life” for us.
In this way, we develop the very noble virtue of magnanimity which, as any dictionary would define, “is a loftiness of spirit, enabling one to bear trouble calmly, to disdain meanness and pettiness, and to display a noble generosity.”
This is the virtue that we can readily see in Christ, especially in his Passion and Death, when even without us asking for forgiveness yet, already assumed all our sins without committing sin himself and offered us forgiveness.
Let’s always remember Christ’s command that if we are hit in one cheek, we offer the other also. If we are challenged to walk one mile, we walk two miles with the challenger. Let us not miss the bigger picture that magnanimity offers us.
We have to learn how to be patient and sport in this life, not losing our sense of humor. What is more important is that we focus on what we are supposed to do, which we ought to do with great passion since God expects us to be very fruitful and productive, considering the many graces and blessings he has given us.
We have to learn how to disregard certain things that will only hinder us in carrying out the real purpose of our life here on earth. Yes, we have to be sensitive especially to the needs of people, but we also have to learn how to be insensitive to certain things and developments around that get in the way of charity.
We have to know how to move on. May our relationship with those who may have offended us continue to prosper in charity and goodwill. In fact, those offenses, if considered from the point of view of our faith, would occasion great lessons for us to learn. God knows how to derive good from evil.
Fr. Roy Cimagala is the Chaplain of the Center for Industrial Technology and Enterprise, Talamban, Cebu City (email@example.com)/PN