“And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.”

extramile

Human beings conserve their energy, both physical and mental, so that they will be able to use it when a valuable goal appears on the horizon. Of course, when motivated properly, we are willing and ready to think hard about a situation and put considerable physical effort into attaining a goal that is in our best interests. Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, however, puts a different twist on what our best interests are, how we look at what we own, … [Read more...]

Forgiveness of Wrongs and the Remembrance of Wrongs

Cross

Statements such as “I will forgive, but I won’t forget” and “Forgive your enemies but never forget their names” are oft-quoted phrases that remain popular to this day. They represent a tip of the hat to the virtue of forgiveness while reserving the full rights to nurse the offense well into the future. While some will view such an attitude as practical in a world where self-preservation is paramount, these sentiments aren’t supported by … [Read more...]

Forgiveness, Penance, and the Passage of Time

confession

If it’s true that forgiveness is an essential part of healthy living , are there any circumstances when forgiveness may be denied or at the least withheld for a period of time? Forgiveness can bring reconciliation, healing, peace and many gifts, but is it always beneficial for the forgiver and the forgiven? Does it always make people into better human beings ready to responsibly face the world and embrace important values? In other words, can the … [Read more...]

“And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.”

In order to apply Christ’s sayings to our daily life, we first have to understand them. And sometimes to understand them, we need to recover a context that in modern times is all but lost. It would seem to be the case with this particular verse from the Sermon on the Mount. Those who heard our Savior’s words were well familiar with the teaching of the Law that was meant to encourage compassion even with those who have not kept their promises: “If … [Read more...]

Being Conscientious, Being Warm, and Being Forgiving

mount

How we approach problems in our relationships with others and whether or not we are inclined to seek forgiveness depends not only on our free will and our openness to the teachings of the Gospel, but also on the virtues we hold most dear. Some people value warmth that translates into showing compassion, demonstrating empathy, and exhibiting altruism. Others tend to prize conscientiousness that means exercising self-control, manifesting integrity, … [Read more...]

Forgiveness in Writing

If failing to forgive is in large part due to an unwillingness to forgive, what are some practical means to increase our will to forgive? We can commit ourselves to daily reading Scriptural passages on forgiveness or patristic texts such as those used in this series on forgiveness. We can pray for the strength to forgive even as we have been forgiven. We can also use the written word in other ways to strengthen our intentions. Putting … [Read more...]