DAILY CATHOLIC -    Tuesday, February 17, 1998   volume 9, no. 34



by Father John Hampsch, C.M.F.

Faith: Key to the Heart of God

Twenty-sixth Installment: Measuring Maturity Forgive so that you may be forgiven

     Do you believe Jesusí statement that you canít have you sins forgiven if you harbor resentment? Or that that resentment will prevent you from working miracles or getting your prayers answered? Mark 11:23 implies that every Christian should be a miracle worker! Jesus said ask for anything, believing with no doubt, and itís yours. Read the next sentence (v. 25): "But before you ask for these things be sure that you forgive you brethren from you heart [a Hebrewism that means with the totality of you being], so that your Heavenly Father will forgive not, and you will not be forgiven." (Matthew 6:15). If you harbor any resentment against anyone, living or dead, then you are not authentically Christian. Youíre also living in sin - not just the sin of resentment - but in the accumulated and consequently unforgiven sins as well. There are thirteen places in Scripture where it says you will not be forgiven unless you first forgive. Do you believe that? This is only one small part of the revealed Word of God. Accepting it is one small part of your secondary faith.

      Should you harbor resentment against anyone- the rapist who raped you, the burglar who raided your house or the thief who stole your car, the person who broke up your marriage - it means you donít love your enemies and you are not fully Christian (cf. John 13:35). You have to love that rapist who raped you; you donít have to like him (an emotional attraction), but you do have to love him with a benevolential love.

      That means you must want good for him. Jesus says in Luke 6:28 that you must pray for your enemies; thatís benevolential love. 1 Peter 3:9 says, "Call down Godís blessings on those who offend you." Ask God to make that criminal happy, prosperous and especially repentant. Pray for those who have injured you. If you donít you canít call yourself a true Christian, because you are not following the basic mandate of Christianity which is love. Jesusí mandate goes beyond Old Testament requirements to love your neighbor (Leviticus 19:18); we are now required to love our enemies (Luke 6:27)...He said He did not come to destroy Old Testament morality but to improve upon it, fulfill it. If you are living only by what was instead of also what is, you cannot call yourself a Christian. Check your secondary faith.

Next Installment: Measuring Maturity Don't underestimate the power of the devil

February 17, volume 9, no. 34         DAILY CATHOLIC - COLUMNS

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