Forgiveness is one of those church words that we hear a lot about. When we pray the Lord’s prayer, we say, “Forgive us our trespasses/debts as we forgive our debtors/those who trespass against us.”
Jesus taught a lot about forgiveness. He said, “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14-15). He told stories about forgiveness, too.
Forgiveness is not easy for me. Forgiveness is something I struggle with. Right now, I have trouble forgiving people who have bought all the toilet paper leaving none for me. (I currently have enough but I’m being very careful with how much I pull off the roll at a time.)
I am angry when I learned that some people have bought all the guns and ammunition off the shelves, so they have the ability to kill other people who are also hurting, desperate, and scared. And, of course, with all this quiet time, some of the old forgiveness challenges keep popping up even when I think I’m done with them.
During this pandemic with all its ways to scare us, hurt us, challenge us, and anger us, forgiveness may be even more important. The words of Carlo Carretto mean more and more each day to me:
“We are not happy because we are unforgiving, and we are unforgiving because we feel superior to others. …
Those who do not love feel superior to everyone else.
Those who love feel equal to everyone else.
Those who love much gladly take the lower place.”
Maybe learning to love much is the way we proceed through this time. If/when we can do that, covid 19 does not feel nearly so scary.