There is no love and no salvation without forgiveness. Why?
We must ask for forgiveness, because we are all sinners – If we claim that we do not need forgiveness, we are claiming to be perfect, without sin. This is a very radical lie and unawareness of ourselves, and it blocks the grace of God coming to us to heal and save us. When we admit our wrongs and ask others for forgiveness, we admit how we really are, and this truth in the core of our being opens the heart to receive God’s love and mercy.
We must forgive, because we are commanded by Christ the Lord to forgive – Even if we do not understand every situation – “Who’s right, who’s wrong?” – we know that the Lord commands us to forgive “seventy times seven.” In the most important prayer of all, the one that the Lord Himself taught us, we ask God to “forgive our debts AS WE FORGIVE our debtors.” What could be clearer than this? If we do not forgive, we will not be forgiven.
When we ask forgiveness, we are reversing the fall of our first parents – After Adam and Eve sinned, they justified themselves and so instead of receiving God’s forgiveness, they were cast out of Paradise. When we admit our sin and ask forgiveness, we are reversing this sin of pride and self-justification, and we make ourselves citizens of Paradise.
When we grant forgiveness, we are being like God – What could be greater than to imitate the Lord Himself? God forgives us “seventy times seven,” and He asks us to do the same. When we forgive those who wrong us, we are being like Him.
How do we ask for and grant forgiveness in daily life?
How do I heal my feelings when someone has hurt me?
The very best and only really effective method is prayer. Pray specifically, by name, for the person who has wronged you or whom you have wronged. This helps the person you are praying for and you as well. Persevere; it may take awhile. But however long it takes, it is worth it, for by this we gain Paradise.
A very good family habit – the nightly forgiveness
In holy monasteries, at the end of the last service of the day, all the monks ask forgiveness of each other. This can and should be done in families, as well. Before the children go to bed, everyone in the family should bow to everyone else and say, “Forgive me,” and exchange a holy kiss. This way, if we have not dealt with a problem that day, we are forced to deal with it before we go to bed. We forgive, we receive forgiveness, and we can sleep in peace.