“Lord, forgive the wrong I have done.” That’s from Psalm 32. We can make use of this psalm to express our intention for forgiveness because we all know that despite our effort to be faithful and all that, we somehow manage to fall.
We should not stay long feeling bad and guilty because of our failures and sins. While God is not happy with mistakes, he is ever quick to offer us forgiveness if we would just turn to him asking for it. As another psalm would put, “His anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime.” (30,5)
Our sinfulness, defects and errors should not separate us from God. If anything at all, they should bring us closer to him, assured that God’s mercy will never be lacking.
These two realities about our sinfulness and God’s mercy always should go together. We should always strengthen our conviction about the helpful relationship these two should have with each other in our life.
Whenever we feel the sting of our weaknesses and sinfulness, together with their antecedents and consequences, their causes and effects, let’s never forget to consider also God’s mercy that is always given to us, and, in fact, given to us abundantly.
What we have to avoid is to get stuck with one while ignoring the other. Our sinfulness should be viewed in the context of divine mercy. And vice-versa: God’s mercy should be regarded in the context of our unavoidable sinfulness.
And from there, let us develop the unshakable conviction that no matter what sins we commit, no matter how ugly they are, there is always hope. God’s mercy can take on anything.
Let’s strengthen our conviction that Christ has a special attraction to sinners, that he is ever willing to forgive us as long as we show some signs of repentance that he himself, through his grace, will stir in us.
Let’s play the part of Peter who, after denying Christ three times, realized his mistake and wept bitterly in repentance. Christ looked kindly on him and forgave him and even made him the prince of the apostles.
Let’s avoid playing the part of Cain and Judas who, after committing their crimes, ran away instead of going back to God repentant. Of course, in saying this, I am not at all judging that they are in hell. That judgment belongs to God alone.
We just have to make sure that we do not get spoiled by God’s abundant mercy, because even if his love and mercy is eternal, his justice is never sacrificed. His mercy and justice always go together, in proportions, if we have to speak in human terms, that are just right.
Let us also hope that God’s mercy would rub off on us too. We have to learn to be forgiving, because Christ clearly told us that it is when we forgive others that we ourselves can also be forgiven.
“If you will forgive men their offences, your heavenly Father will forgive you also your offences. But if you will not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive you your offences.” (Mt 6,14-15)
We have to be clear that his injunction is meant for everyone, and not only for a few whom we may consider to be religiously inclined. That’s why when asked how many times we should forgive, he said not only seven times, but seventy times seven, meaning always.
So, let’s just be quick to say sorry when we commit a mistake, and we should mean it wholeheartedly!*