Every Christian knows that when Our Lord was asked how often we should forgive those who offend us, He replied “not seven times, but seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:22). In other words, always. Never refuse to forgive.
However, what about apologies? Most people struggle to apologise for anything because it means admitting they were wrong about something, or insensitive, unkind to others. Sadly, that seems to be the norm. Just don’t apologise! But what about those who DO apologise and find their apology either spurned or ignored… Some people prefer to “apologise in kind” – by, for example, offering a small gift, or by some means other than directly saying “sorry”. Does that count as an apology? And what about those rejected or ignored apologies… should they be repeated indefinitely until reconciliation has taken place?
We ought, in this thread, to reflect on the root cause of both the inability to forgive wrongs perpetrated against us, and – the other side of that coin – the inability to apologise for inflicting wrongs on others. Is it true to argue that it is sinful pride which causes us to be unforgiving and unrepentant – or, at least, if not unrepentant, unwilling to admit to the person we’ve hurt that we know we are in the wrong? Or is there some other reason for our inability or unwillingness to apologise – and do we have to apologise seventy times seven – or is once sufficient?
The following quotes from saints about the sin of pride are offered to help kick-start the discussion – and feel free to add your own favourite quotes and sermons from the saints, since this thread is chiefly intended to help us move forward in our spiritual life, as we begin this new year. Nobody stands still in the spiritual life, remember; we either go forward or back.
QUOTES FROM SAINTS…
You must ask God to give you power to fight against the sin of pride which is your greatest enemy – the root of all that is evil, and the failure of all that is good. For God resists the proud… The most powerful weapon to conquer the devil is humility. For, as he does not know at all how to employ it, neither does he know how to defend himself from it. Saint Vincent de Paul
A truly humble person never believes that he can be wronged in anything. Truly, we ought to be shamed to resent whatever is said or done against us; for it is the greatest shame in the world to see that our Creator bears so many insults from His creatures, and that we resent even a little word that is contradictory. St. Teresa
It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels. Saint Augustine