That’s a clear mark of a true Christian. Christ has told us clearly: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Lk 6,36) There are no ifs and buts in these words. In fact, Christ continued to say: “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you…For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (37-38)
Christ was and continues to be always merciful. How? Well, first of all, being the son of God, he emptied himself to become man. That way, he already adapted himself to our wounded, sinful condition. He identified himself with us so that we would have a way to identify ourselves with him. He preached the truth about God and about ourselves.
He gave preferential attention to the sick, that is, the sinners. He was always ready to forgive, his mercy and compassion having no limits—“not only seven times, but seventy times seven times.” (Mt 18,22) He taught about loving the enemy and lived it. He did not mind all the insults and mockeries that were poured on him just to accomplish his mission of saving us.
Even while hanging on the cross, he offered forgiveness to those who crucified him. And in the end, he assumed all our sins without committing sin by dying on the cross. In that way, he dealt death to all our sins, and with his resurrection he offered us a way for our own salvation and reconciliation with our Father God. He was thoroughly magnanimous. Yes, mercy is a clear mark of magnanimity.
We need to train our faculties—our intelligence, will, emotions, passions, memory, urges, appetites—to have this spirit of Christ of being merciful always. For this, of course, we need time, effort and a certain discipline to acquire this indispensable quality of a true Christian life.
Especially when we become a victim of some offense by someone, we really have to learn to forgive and to 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. That’s why we need to deny ourselves, and carry Christ’s cross as Christ himself told us, to be able to do this.
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)
What would be helpful here also is to develop a sporting spirit, so that even if we encounter failures, defeats, injustices, unfairness, etc., we would just go on with the game of life where we know God is always in control. With him, everything will work out for the good. (cfr. Rom 8,28)*