God first taught His ways to His people by giving them His Ten Commandments (Ex 20:1ff). His people lost their way, so God "tried again" (Jer 18:4). He sent them prophets to teach them His ways, and promised to write His laws and ways upon their hearts (Jer 31:33). God's people struggled to grasp His ways (Is 55:8).
God's next step was to send Jesus as a Teacher to teach us His ways and paths (Jn 3:16). Jesus taught us that God's way is to forgive repeatedly from the heart (Mt 18:35). Next, Jesus personally made known to us God's paths. He shouldered His cross and walked up the path to Calvary. In so doing, Jesus taught us God's path, the path of forgiveness, and God's way, the way of the cross. Like all good teachers, Jesus then summarized His lesson on God's way of forgiveness as He hung from His cross, saying, "Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing" (Lk 23:34). Jesus forgave those who were hurting Him far more than seventy times seven times (Mt 18:22). He forgives all sinners for all time.
The lesson "is finished" (Jn 19:30). Now it's time for the final exam. The Lord is testing you in the heat of the Lenten desert to determine if you are sincere about following His ways and His paths (see Dt 8:2; 13:4). As part of the forgiveness test, the Lord sends into your life people close enough to be able to hurt you more than seven times, such as a family member, associate, relative, or boss (Mt 18:21). Will you forgive them repeatedly from your heart? Follow the narrow path and pass the forgiveness test.
|PRAYER:||Father, forgive me my trespasses in the same manner that I forgive those who trespass against me (Mt 6:12).|
|PROMISE:||"Good and upright is the Lord; thus He shows sinners the way." –Ps 25:8|
|PRAISE:||Although belittled at work, Edward treated his boss with respect and kindness.|
Reprinted with permission from Presentation Ministries, a lay association of the Catholic Church that focuses on evangelization and discipleship through Bible teaching, daily Mass, the charisms of the Holy Spirit, and Small Christian Community. Their ministries include: