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  From the Fathers: On Forgiveness


      If the Emperor had laid down a law that all those who were enemies should be reconciled to one another, or have their heads cut off, should we not every one make haste to a reconciliation with his neighbor? Yes, truly, I think so! What excuse then have we, in not ascribing the same honor to the Lord that we should do to those who are our fellow servants? For this reason we are commanded to say, "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors" (Matt. 6:12).

    What can be more mild, what more merciful, than this precept! He has made you a judge of the pardon of your own offenses! If you forgive few things, He forgives you few! If you forgive many things, He forgives you many! If you pardon from the heart, and sincerely, God in like manner also pardons you...

     Do not tell me, "I have besought him many times , I have entreated, I have supplicated, but I have not effected a reconciliation." Never desist till you have reconciled him. For He said not, "Leave your gift, and go your way". Although you may have made many entreaties, yet you must not desist until you have persuaded. God entreats us every day, and we do not hear; yet He does not cease entreating. And do not then disdain to entreat your fellow-servant. How is it then possible for you ever to be saved? In proportion as the good work is accomplished with greater difficulty, and the reconciliation is one of much labor, so much the greater will be the judgment on him, and so much the brighter will be the crowns of victory for your forbearance." 

Saint John Chrysostom


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