Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to seven times, but seventy times seven.”
St. Matthew 18:21-22
Forgiveness trumps everything. It doesn’t matter what someone says to you or does to you. You have to forgive them. Even if they call you an imbecile and express their heartfelt belief that you shouldn’t be allowed to vote because you’re Catholic, you must forgive them.
The overwhelming message of the the Bible is that God is forgiving and that we too, should forgive others. We have to look past our own hurts, our own pride, fears, weaknesses, anger, and emotions and forgive the sins that are committed against us. We have to forsake our own lives and bear the pains that others commit against us and press on. If we focus on the things that have happened to us in the past, we cannot look to the future, to eternal life with God.
Most importantly, we need to forgive those who tread upon our Faith. We need to pray for them, that whatever hurt they experienced in the past because of a sinful Catholic would be healed. That whatever anger they harbor against Christ would be dulled. That whatever sin they are hanging onto and thus shout at the Law of God, would be wrangled away from them and thrown into the abyss.
We pray during Lent not only for our sanctification, but also for the justification and sanctification of those who are not yet of the fold of the One Flock, the Catholic Church. We pray that their ignorance would be transformed to wisdom, anger to joy, hate to love.
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”