‘It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.’
The future St. Peter is all of us when he asks, “Lord, how often must I forgive my brother if he wrongs me?” As often as seven times is his very magnanimous suggestion. Maybe this was his way of prompting Jesus to declare ‘yes’ this is more than enough, thereby absolving him, and us, of future responsibility toward our neighbour. After all, fool me once shame on you, but fool me twice? Seven times?!
What answer would we desire if we changed the question – Lord, how often must my brother forgive me if I do him wrong? I am sure Jesus’ response of seventy-seven times, in essence endlessly, is very attractive in this scenario. Guilt is a heavy burden to bear, and forgiveness is the key that brings release and peace.
It is important to understand that our forgiving others attracts God’s forgiveness to us. It is the currency with which we pay our debt to heaven. As St. Francis of Assisi prayed, ‘It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.’