24th SUNDAY OF THE YEAR
‘Not seven times, but seventy-seven times’
Everyone has to confront the issue of forgiveness
sometime. Forgiveness is a lovely idea until we
have someone to forgive! In the end it’s a decision.
We know the theory, but there comes a moment.
In 1943 Eric Lomax, a British army officer, suffered
severe mistreatment in a Japanese prisoner of war
camp in Thailand. Fifty years later he decided to
return to the place of his torture to meet and be
reconciled with his brutal torturer Nagase Takashi.
When asked to explain his magnanimous gesture
he replied, ‘sometime the hating must stop’. A
contrasting reaction comes from a Jewish inmate
who survived Auschwitz concentration camp. When
reflecting on his ordeal with a former colleague many
years later he proclaimed defiantly that he would
never forgive the Commandant of the camp. ‘In that
case’, replied his friend, ‘he still has you in prison’.
Forgiveness liberates. Unforgiveness enslaves.
‘The greatest form of giving is forgiving’.