St. Paul, in his letter to the Colossians, gives the following advice to those who desire to follow the way of Jesus:
By FATHER PAUL EBERLE
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called into one body. And be thankful.” (Colossians 3:12-16)
This passage calls us to forgive one another and to allow the peace of Christ to control our hearts and lives. If we approach every situation with the attitude St. Paul sets forth, there would be less fighting and discord in the world, in our families, and within our own heart.
We are all children of the same God. God loves each of us with a passion stronger than any earthly love. In fact, God sent his Son, Jesus, to live among us and Jesus died upon the cross on Calvary to redeem us from our sins. In God’s eyes, every person is worthy to die for, and he did in fact die on the cross and rise on the third day for every person that has lived and ever will live. God created us to be loved and to love. Since God loves all people, even our enemies, should we not also try to love others with a pure and generous heart?
Forgiving those who have deeply hurt us is a step in the direction of establishing a lasting peace in our hearts and families. St. Peter asked Jesus how often he needed to extend forgiveness to someone, as many as seven times, he asked, thinking seven times to be a lot. Jesus replied, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. In other words, Jesus challenges us to forgive as often as necessary.
Today, as you pray, ask God to reveal to you anyone in your life from whom you desire to seek forgiveness or extend forgiveness. I assure you, as does St. Paul, that you will feel peace within your soul when you, with abundant trust, take steps on the path of healing past grievances. Forgiveness is what Jesus extended to each of us when he embraced the cross. Let us do the same for one another, so to allow the peace of Christ to control our hearts. May God bless you everyday!
Paul Eberle serves as priest for area Catholic churches.