Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven.Matthew 18:21
Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Luke 7:48
When we forgive others, we step out of this time-bound condition, with all its imperfection, selfishness, pettiness and ignorance, and become more deeply established in God’s love. Wayne Teasdale, “The Mystery of Forgiveness” (4) from People’s Companion to the Breviary Vol. 1
I was stopped by that phrase: “we step out of this time-bound condition...” What an odd thing to say. I could better understand saying, “human condition”, or “sinful condition”. But “time-bound condition”?
But it really does make sense. We are time bound. We recall – usually with some degree of distortion – our pasts; we live in the moment – again to some degree; we look forward to and envision our future. We are most assuredly weighted with and influenced deeply by our times.
God is not time bound. Time is a human invention, a human condition, a bond. But when we forgive, we unloose that bond. When we forgive, we step outside the determinative nature of our time and into the freedom of God’s existence. We aren’t bound by memory that wounds and keeps us in chains. We aren’t tethered to the “now” – our busyness and our current needs and wants. And we have no need to be concerned with the future. Forgiveness lands us squarely in God’s existence, or as Teasdale says, God’s love. It permits us to release old wounds and to invite God’s healing; it blesses and makes our present holy; and forgiveness allows us to move into our future freed and more fully aware of God’s love for us and for those we forgive.
While forgiveness is a blessing to those who are forgiven, it is at least that great a blessing for those who are able to forgive.