Forgiving and being forgiven

I learned long ago that I am better at asking for forgiveness than I am at forgiving. Like the younger son in today’s Gospel, I can easily come to my senses and see that humbling myself and admitting my mistake is the best course of action. As much as I like to be right, I can admit when I am wrong.

But when I am the one who is asked to forgive, I can become like the older brother who kept score of every good thing he had done to make sure he came out on top in the contest with his sibling. When I feel wronged, I can hold a grudge and be stingy with mercy.

But with God, there is no contest, and there is no scorecard. Keeping track of our brownie points and holding grudges destroys relationships; compassion and mercy build community. God delights in clemency and invites us to do the same.

(This reflection was originally published in Villanova University’s Lenten Reflections and is based on the readings for Saturday of the Second Week of Lent: Micah 7:14-15, 18-20; Psalm 103; Luke 15: 1-3, 11-32)

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