Faith and Forgiveness
By Fr. Taemoon Kwon SSC
A long time ago, there were two businessmen. They hated each other so much that they fight every day.
Jesus felt painfully unhappy looking at them. One day, he came to the world and told one of them, “I want to give you a gift. If you wish something, you will receive it. But there is a condition. When you get the gift you wish, the man you hate will get the gift twice.”
The man listening to Jesus seriously pondered on His words and then said, “If so, I want to ask you this gift: make my right eye blind.”
Through this story, we can see how many of us find it difficult to forgive.
Today, Jesus tells his disciples to forgive the one repenting. In the bible, we can find four gospels where Jesus asked his disciples to forgive. Instead of answering yes or no, the disciples asked, “Increase our faith.”
One may ask, “What is the relationship between forgiveness and faith?”
I believe that most people find it difficult to forgive because they have very little faith in the other person. No matter how bad we perceive a person to be, there is always a ‘good seed’ in him and a ‘potential’ to change and grow.
Forgiveness requires believing that everyone has an inherent good “mustard seed” in him. This invisible seed will sprout and grow when we accept the person.
In this sense, true forgiveness always starts with faith. It comes from that genuine trust and belief in a person’s capacity to be good. Despite being deceived and hurt many times, an unwavering commitment to accept people as they are, will result to the good mustard sprouting inside them and the kingdom of heaven finally opening to them.
Just as the seeds of nature need good soil, enough sunlight, rain and wind for them to grow, this invisible mustard seed of heaven need our faith, love, and patience for it to sprout and grow within people.
If we find forgiveness difficult, then now we should pray, “Lord, increase our faith.”