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With Lent coming up all together too soon it’s the time we each start taking a little bit of a spiritual inventory.  I think in these days one of the hardest problems to come to grips with is an inability to forgive – to truly forgive.  We’re surrounded with counter-examples of this constantly.  Some would tell us that those who have offended us have to be punished in like manner, some would say that our only available option in every case is to let things roll off our back like water off a duck – both of these extremes to me are counter-productive.  The first is a problem because it is quite clearly counter to both the example and command of Jesus.  The second is unrealistic because very few of us have been given and responded to the grace to never take offense, and I think also because some offenses are severe enough that they deserve a response, even when it is the positive act of forgiveness.

I’ll bet if you’re honest with yourself you can think of someone, and probably many someones, who you need to forgive even if they haven’t “earned” it yet.  After reading this article I’m finding it far harder to deny forgiveness to those around me who do something offensive.  In the end, it is not just the person who is forgiven that receives a great gift but the person who forgives as well.  That, I think, is a lesson our modern culture is definitely in need of learning.

I realized it was not justice or equity I wanted most of all, but relief. Often we think the cost of forgiving is too high, but we do not consider the cost of not forgiving.

I found relief in releasing his debts against me, especially as I realized my father could not pay what he owed me. Nor can many parents.

I found the yoke of forgiveness, then, lighter than the yoke of hurt and hate. I found the yoke of caring for him easier than the burden of abandoning him.

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