Remember the story of Moses and the parting of the Red Sea? In today’s first reading from Joshua 3, we see a very similar story. Joshua was Moses’ successor, chosen by God to lead the people into the promised land across the Jordan river. The Jordan was a big, wide, powerful river. But God makes a way for the whole nation of Israel to cross. It’s a cool story…I hope you’ll take the time to read it!
In the Gospel reading today from Matthew 18, Peter asks Jesus, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus then gives him an answer, and tells a parable that ends with a master handing an unforgiving servant over to the torturers. He then says, “So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.”
Forgiveness is not always an easy thing. In fact, it is rarely an easy thing. But it is an act of the will, not an emotion. And the more we practice, the better we’ll get. We may not “feel” forgiveness at first. But I believe in the old saying “fake it til you make it.” If you keep willing yourself to forgive, eventually the feeling will follow. So let’s remember to forgive, whether we “feel” it or not. Because if we don’t…well, the consequences are dire.
Father, help us to remember that forgiveness is an act of the will. Teach us to forgive even when we don’t feel it in our hearts. Soften our hearts, that they may eventually follow. Amen.