To forgive offenses willingly is one of the 7 spiritual works of mercy, and it is one that we have a lot of opportunity to practice.
“If we bear malice towards anyone, we are not worthy of the name of Christians” Transcript
This Traditional Catholic Homily reminds us of what appears to be a most stern requirement, and one that is very at odds with our fallen human nature. Part of the problem today is that words like forgiveness, love, malice have lost a some of their meaning because the words are misused and abused.
Words, especially like love, are viewed at the level of emotions when they should be viewed in regards to the will. Forgiveness coming from a will that has to make an active effort to put away injury while a persons emotions are still in an upheaval is still forgiveness. One does not feel forgiveness, forgiveness is making an act of the will to forgive.
St. John Chrysostom had some good advice to help heal past injuries and how to look at offenses against ourselves.
Say not then that he insulted thee, and slandered thee, and did unto thee ills beyond number; for the more thou tellest, so much the more dost thou declare him a benefactor. For he hath given thee an opportunity to wash away thy sins; so that the greater the injuries he hath done thee, so much more is he become to thee a cause of a greater remission of sins. St John Chrysosthom, Father and Doctor of the Church, Homily LXI
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