Author Topic: Why is forgiving others completely so important?  (Read 141 times)

Offline Xavier

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Why is forgiving others completely so important?
« on: February 14, 2019, 02:50:51 AM »
We know that Our Lord in the Gospels and in His Prayer lays so much emphasis on forgiving others from the heart, bearing no grudge, loving our enemies, praying for those who oppress us, pardoning completely all who sin against us etc. Can we reflect more on why forgiveness is so pleasing to God and so important for us? How can we best practice forgiveness in our daily lives?

Pope Gregory the Great says this in his Dialogues, "Chapter Sixty: that we ought to pardon other men their sins, that we may obtain remission of our own.

We have also further to know, that he doth rightly and in good sort demand pardon for his own sin, who doth forgive that which hath been done against himself. For our gift is not received, if, before, we free not our soul from all discord and lack of charity: for our Saviour saith: If thou offer thy gift at the altar, and there thou remember that thy brother hath aught against thee, leave there thy offering before the altar, and go first to be reconciled to thy brother, and then coming thou shalt offer thy gift. (Mat 5:23-24) Wherein we have to consider, that whereas all sin by a gift is loosed, how grievous the sin of discord is, for which no gift is received: and therefore we ought, in soul and desire, to go unto our neighbour though he be far off, and many miles distant from us, and there to humble ourselves before him, and to pacify him by humility and hearty good will, to the end that our Creator, beholding the desire of our mind, may forgive us our own sin, who receiveth a gift for sin. And our Saviour himself teacheth us, how that servant, which did owe ten thousand talents, by penance obtained of his Lord the forgiveness of that debt: but yet because he would not forgive his fellow-servant an hundred pence, which were due to him, that was again exacted at his hands, which before was pardoned. (Matt. 18. 27.) Out of which sayings we learn, that if we do not from our heart forgive that which is committed against us, how that is again required at our hands, whereof before we were glad that by penance we had obtained pardon and remission.

Wherefore, whiles time is given us, whiles our judge doth bear with us, whiles he that examineth our sins doth expect our conversion and amendment: let us mollify with tears the hardness of our heart, and with sincere charity, love our neighbours: and then dare I speak it boldly, that we shall not have any need of the holy sacrifice after our death: if, before death, we offer up ourselves for a sacrifice unto almighty God." http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/gregory_04_dialogues_book4.htm#C60

« Last Edit: February 14, 2019, 02:58:38 AM by Xavier »
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Offline awkwardcustomer

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Re: Why is forgiving others completely so important?
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2019, 05:15:42 AM »
But we're not obliged to forgive those who have no remorse, at least, not according to Mat 18: 15-17 if I am reading it correctly.

Quote
But if thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone. If he shall hear thee, thou shalt gain thy brother. And if he will not hear thee, take with thee one or two more: that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand.  And if he will not hear them: tell the church. And if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican.
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Offline Clare

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Re: Why is forgiving others completely so important?
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2019, 07:00:47 AM »
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

So, forgive us as we forgive. If we don't forgive, we've effectively asked not to be forgiven.

"The standard of the last judgment is absolute. It is this - the measure which we have meted to others. Our present humour in judging others reveals to us what our sentence would be if we died now. Are we content to abide that issue?" - Fr Faber

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Offline awkwardcustomer

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Re: Why is forgiving others completely so important?
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2019, 07:42:43 AM »
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

So, forgive us as we forgive. If we don't forgive, we've effectively asked not to be forgiven.

"The standard of the last judgment is absolute. It is this - the measure which we have meted to others. Our present humour in judging others reveals to us what our sentence would be if we died now. Are we content to abide that issue?" - Fr Faber

Of course, but in the Our Father we are asking to be forgiven for our trespasses.  This assumes we have remorse and contrition.  And when we are forgiven, and have done penance, we are quite rightly expected to forgive others who do the same ie, show remorse and ask to be forgiven.

But what of those who show no remorse and aren't asking to be forgiven?   
And formerly the heretics were manifest; but now the Church is filled with heretics in disguise.  
St Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lecture 15, para 9.

And what rough beast, it's hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
WB Yeats, 'The Second Coming'.
 
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Offline Gardener

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Re: Why is forgiving others completely so important?
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2019, 02:03:02 PM »
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

So, forgive us as we forgive. If we don't forgive, we've effectively asked not to be forgiven.

"The standard of the last judgment is absolute. It is this - the measure which we have meted to others. Our present humour in judging others reveals to us what our sentence would be if we died now. Are we content to abide that issue?" - Fr Faber

Of course, but in the Our Father we are asking to be forgiven for our trespasses.  This assumes we have remorse and contrition.  And when we are forgiven, and have done penance, we are quite rightly expected to forgive others who do the same ie, show remorse and ask to be forgiven.

But what of those who show no remorse and aren't asking to be forgiven?

We cannot be held to a higher standard than God -- such is an absurdity. God is prepared to forgive everyone, but if one spurns that then He cannot in fact forgive because the person themselves rejected it.

In his treatise on the Lord's Prayer, St. Thomas writes, in part:
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But one may ask whether he who does not intend to forgive his neighbor ought to say: "As we forgive those who trespass against us." It seems not, for such is a lie. But actually it must be said that he does not lie, because he prays not in his own person, but in that of the Church which is not deceived, and, therefore the petition itself is in the plural number.[16] And it must also be known that forgiveness is twofold. One applies to the perfect, where the one offended seeks out the offender: "Seek after peace."[17] The other is common to all, and to it all are equally bound, that one offended grant pardon to the one who seeks it: "Forgive thy neighbor if he hath hurt thee; and then shall thy sins be forgiven to thee when thou prayest."[18] And from this follows that other beatitude: "Blessed are the merciful." For mercy causes us to have pity on our neighbor.
https://dhspriory.org/thomas/english/PaterNoster.htm

So the real question is not: whether or not we ought to forgive: that's an absolute and without question.

The real question is: what is the degree to which we must go as the offended to forgive the offender, or at least let them know of their forgiveness in potential. In a sense, this is also subject to the same problems of fraternal correction: willingness to hear, not going to drive them further away, phrased properly, etc.

In that, I'd surmise we must be internally prepared to forgive and if possible let the offender know such a thing. But, they have to then also do something: seek forgiveness.

Seeking forgiveness involves recognition of our sin against another. So if they refuse to acknowledge their sin, our part is complete as it can be and nothing is lacking in us, the offended.

To argue more is necessary seems to be to be placing an imperfect standard on God, Who is perfect and thus in some sense "perfectly" offended; placing a "perfect" standard on us, who are imperfect and in some sense imperfectly offended (for in our own sins we deserve much more punishment than we receive. While we may not have "deserved" a slap or a mean word, God's providence allowed it, and this for correction and humiliation).
"And what use are the victories on the battlefield if we are ourselves are defeated in our innermost personal selves?" - St. Maximilian Kolbe
 
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Offline mikemac

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Re: Why is forgiving others completely so important?
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2019, 02:27:20 PM »
This is what I have been wondering too.  I forgive him (and my lawyer got most of my money back from him).  But I can't go to him and tell him that I forgive him because some how he thinks that I did him wrong.  I can forgive him but it's hard to forget what he did.  We don't talk anymore; it's mutual and probably for the best.  I feel my conscience is clear.  There is nothing more for me to do.  Is there?  Right now to me what awkwardcustomer posted, Mat 18: 15-17 seems to be more relevant than trying to offer him forgiveness, which he doesn't want anyways.  God knows that I forgive this person and I still pray for him.  There is not much more that I can do.
Like John Vennari (RIP) said "Why not just do it?  What would it hurt?"
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Offline awkwardcustomer

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Re: Why is forgiving others completely so important?
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2019, 03:59:45 PM »
According to Luke 17:3-4

Quote

Take heed to yourselves. If thy brother sin against thee, reprove him: and if he do penance, forgive him.  And if he sin against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day be converted unto thee, saying, I repent; forgive him.

If he do penance, forgive him.  If he do penance it implies that he has expressed remorse and asked to be forgiven.  In the article below, Jimmy Akin addresses the very question - is it necessary to forgive those who do not repent, to which he answers no, because not even God does that.

https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/the-limits-of-forgiveness

If you suffer harm at the hands of an individual who shows no remorse or desire for forgiveness, then forgiveness is not even an issue because forgiveness requires repentance and in this situation there is none.  Surely it is then permissible to be angry - but not sin.  Be angry, because righteous anger is good, and then pray for the person's soul while handing the question of their forgiveness over to God.
 
And formerly the heretics were manifest; but now the Church is filled with heretics in disguise.  
St Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lecture 15, para 9.

And what rough beast, it's hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
WB Yeats, 'The Second Coming'.
 
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Offline Michael Wilson

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Re: Why is forgiving others completely so important?
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2019, 05:38:39 PM »
I think that we can forgive those who have not regretted offending us or asked to be forgiven, by praying for their repentance, conversion and salvation. But I agree with those who say that we cannot go to them and tell them that we forgive them, if they haven't repented or admitted that they were wrong.
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. ... [43] You have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thy enemy. ... [44] But I say to you, Love your enemies: do good to them that hate you: and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you: ... [45] That you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven, who maketh his sun to rise upon the good, and bad, and raineth upon the just and the unjust.
For God Himself called us to Him by sending us His grace when we were still His enemies and living unrepentantly in sin.
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[8] But God commendeth his charity towards us; because when as yet we were sinners, according to the time, [9] Christ died for us; much more therefore, being now justified by his blood, shall we be saved from wrath through him. [10] For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son; much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.
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Offline Non Nobis

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Re: Why is forgiving others completely so important?
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2019, 05:55:51 PM »
Once I made a somewhat hurtful comment and the woman I made it to overreacted, spoiling the evening for multiple people, and sulking for at least a couple days (hurting me too). I apologized profusely from pretty early on, but felt like she should have apologized too for her overreaction. I tried to forgive her for that (telling her nothing), even though she did not apologize because she thought that her reaction was totally justified. (The whole thing blew over in the end).

So, it seems to me we can forgive people when they don't repent if they honestly don't think they did anything wrong (especially if we started the problem in the first place; maybe I should just not have expected any apology for the overreaction).

I don't know if  you would necessarily call it forgiving, but we shouldn't carry resentment in our heart against anyone, and should be willing to pray for them.  Righteous anger, yes. It is sometimes hard to tell the difference in practice between hateful resentment and righteous anger and not letting up on the original demands of justice.   
« Last Edit: February 14, 2019, 06:19:10 PM by Non Nobis »
[Matthew 8:26]  And Jesus saith to them: Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith? Then rising up he commanded the winds, and the sea, and there came a great calm.

[Job  38:1-5]  Then the Lord answered Job out of a whirlwind, and said: [2] Who is this that wrappeth up sentences in unskillful words? [3] Gird up thy loins like a man: I will ask thee, and answer thou me. [4] Where wast thou when I laid up the foundations of the earth? tell me if thou hast understanding. [5] Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
 
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Offline Xavier

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Re: Why is forgiving others completely so important?
« Reply #9 on: Today at 02:33:15 AM »
Thanks for the responses. I mostly agree and I think internal forgiveness from the heart is the most important thing. External reconciliation yes, only as far as possible later on, and if circumstances allow. Below is the Roman Catechism on the subject. http://www.catholicapologetics.info/thechurch/catechism/TheLordsPrayer05.shtml

It seems to me that Our Lord was Infinitely Offended on the Cross. Being God and King and Perfect Innocence, He was nonetheless unjustly and wickedly condemned to die as if He were a criminal and a malefactor. And yet for His part, He forgave completely, even praying, "And Jesus said: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. But they, dividing his garments, cast lots." (Lk 23:34)

We will always be offended less, being sinners, and probably not having to suffer outrages like that. Thus, it seems fitting for us to forgive completely, without reserve, without measure, from our heart - just as we hope and expect to be forgiven by God. And Pope St. Gregory the Great seems almost to promise a plenary indulgence at the end of life to those who during the course of their lives have been accustomed to forgive their enemies in that manner; and also sometimes we experience peace and joy in our hearts when we forgive, but experience restlessness and doubt about our own forgiveness from God, when we withhold pardon or refuse to forgive others completely. Of course, when the brother or sister who we deem to have offended us comes back and is reconciled, then the restoration of the relationship is perfect - God also waits for the sinners Who offended Him to be reconciled back to Him by the Sacraments of Baptism or Penance. But He forgave them even on the Cross, while we were yet sinners as St. Paul says, dying and offering His forgiveness and pardon even to those who were crucifying Him.

Quote
Necessity Of Forgiveness

Even the law of nature requires that we conduct ourselves towards others as we would have them conduct themselves towards us; hence he would be most impudent who would ask of God the pardon of his own offences while he continued to cherish enmity against his neighbour.

Those, therefore, on whom injuries have been inflicted, should be ready and willing to pardon, urged to it as they are by this form of prayer, and by the command of God in St. Luke: If thy brother sin against thee, reprove him; and if he repent, forgive him; and if he sin against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, "I repent," forgive him. In the Gospel of St. Matthew we read: Love your enemies; and the Apostle, and before him Solomon wrote: If thy enemy be hungry, give him to eat; if he thirst, give him to drink; and finally we read in the Gospel of St. Mark: When you shall stand to pray, forgive if you have anything against any man; that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your sins.

Reasons For Forgiveness

But since, on account of the corruption of nature, there is nothing to which man brings himself more reluctantly than to the pardon of injuries, let pastors exert all the powers and resources of their minds to change and bend the dispositions of the faithful to this mildness and mercy so necessary to a Christian. Let them dwell on those passages of Scripture in which we hear God commanding to pardon enemies.

Let them also insist on this certain truth, that one of the surest signs that men are children of God is their willingness­to forgive injuries and sincerely love their enemies; for in loving our enemies there shines forth in us some likeness to God our Father, who, by the death of His Son, ransomed from everlasting perdition and reconciled to Himself the human race, which before was most unfriendly and hostile to Him.

Let the close of this exhortation and injunction be the command of Christ the Lord, which, without utter disgrace and ruin, we cannot refuse to obey: Pray for them that persecute and calumniate you; that you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven.

This Petition Should Not be Neglected

But in this matter no ordinary prudence is required on the part of the pastor, lest, knowing the difficulty and necessity of this precept, anyone despair of salvation.

Those Unable To Forget Injuries

There are those who, aware that they ought to bury injuries in voluntary oblivion and ought to love those that injure them, desire to do so, and do so as far as they are able, but feel that they cannot efface from their mind all recollection of injuries. For there lurk in the mind some remains of private grudge, in consequence of which such persons are disturbed by misgivings of conscience, fearing that they have not in simplicity and frankness laid aside their enmities and consequently do not obey the command of God.

Here, therefore, the pastor should explain the contrary desires of the flesh and of the spirit; that the former is prone to revenge, the latter ready to pardon; that hence a continual struggle and conflict goes on between them. Wherefore he should point out that although the appetites of corrupt nature are ever opposing and rebelling against reason, we are not on this account to be uneasy regarding salvation, provided the spirit persevere in the duty and disposition of forgiving injuries and of loving our neighbour ...

The Spirit Of Forgiveness

The best alms and the most excellent act of mercy is forgetfulness of injuries, and good will towards those who have injured us or ours, in person, in property, or in character. Whoever, therefore, desires to experience in a special manner the mercy of God, should make an offering to God Himself of all his enmities, remit every offence, and pray for his enemies with the greatest good will, seizing every opportunity of doing them good. But as this subject was explained when we treated of murder, we refer the pastor to that place.

The pastor ought to conclude his explanation of this Petition with this final reflection, that nothing is, or can be conceived, more unjust than that he who is so rigorous towards men as to extend indulgence to no one, should himself demand that God be mild and kind towards him.
« Last Edit: Today at 02:41:16 AM by Xavier »
Please listen to the frequent messages and take heed of the directions given from Our Living Lord and Our Loving Lady from around the world here: https://maryrefugeofholylove.com/ Great things are at stake. Please consecrate your life to the Blessed Mother so that the Kingdom of God may come, "Ad Sanctam Trinitatem per Mariam, Ut adveniat Regnum Deum, adveniat Regnum Mariae, ergo TOTUS TUUS ego sum, MARIA" See http://www.maria-domina-animarum.net/en/flowers/1-250

Mary, our Heavenly Mother, implores those who receive Holy Communion Daily, or at least Weekly, to Offer their Lives. TEXT OF THE LIFE OFFERING, adapted and pluralized: Dear Lord Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, We hereby Offer our whole Lives to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Together with our life, we place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all our Holy Communions, all Rosaries, all acts of consecration, all our good deeds, all our sacrifices, and the suffering of our entire life for the Adoration and Supplication of the Holy Trinity, for Unity in our Holy Mother Church, for the Holy Father, Pope Francis the First; and for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. For all the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, for all Bishops of the Universal Church that they may be true Apostles and Shepherds; and for Priests, Nuns and Monks, for good Priestly and Religious Vocations, and for All Souls until the end of the world. O my Jesus, please accept our life Sacrifice and our offerings and give us Your grace that we may all persevere obediently until death. Amen." https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/ It is recommended that you make this Life Offering as soon as you feel ready, and to renew it from time to time. Please do.

Please read the Blessed Mother's amazing promises in the link: A simple effective way for thousands of us to save millions of souls. The Doctors and Apostles say if we save even just one other soul through prayer and sacrifice, we also ensure the salvation of our own. Let us all Offer all our Life to Jesus and Mary Today.
 
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Offline Josephine87

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Re: Why is forgiving others completely so important?
« Reply #10 on: Today at 04:26:48 PM »
I always find this useful:

Quote
What is forgiveness?
Forgiveness is a decision. It is an act of the will. Nothing more. Nothing less.

We can understand more by looking at what it is not:

Forgiveness is not saying that the offence or hurt that was done “is o.k.” Offenses, especially the most hurtful ones, will never be “o.k.” How can a mother who has lost her child to a murder, for example, ever be “o.k.” with it?
Forgiveness is also not saying that the offense is to be forgotten. We often hear the phrase, “Forgive and forget.” That might work when the offense was something small, like the stealing of a few dollars. But when the hurt we receive is enormous, it is impossible to forget it.
Forgiveness is not an emotion. We can still be angry, scared, depressed, or sad, even after genuinely forgiving the one who has hurt us. Our emotions are virtually impossible to control. Thus, forgiveness has to be something apart from being emotionally stable and “at peace.”
Forgiveness is independent of the pain we feel. It is not a state of being pain free or a state of contentment. Just because we are suffering does not mean we cannot forgive. Similarly, because we continue to suffer after forgiving does not mean that we have not genuinely forgiven. And, to complete the scenarios, just because we do not experience suffering following a hurt does not mean there is no need to forgive; the mere fact that there was a violation is sufficient to warrant—in fact, to necessitate—forgiveness.

https://mariagoretti.com/how-to-forgive/
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