True, it is hard to suffer evil for good. But who does us more good than God? Nevertheless, disregarding this we continually sin against Him. Then look at this, cover your face and say from the heart, “I have sinned, O Lord, have mercy on me. I forgive my neighbor, forgive also me, Thine unworthy servant who have sinned against Thee, my creator and benefactor.”
“I was very patient with him,” you say. Remember how much you have sinned against God, but the Lord was patient with you. How would it have been had God dealt with you according to His righteousness? Your soul would have gone down to hell a long time ago. Then just as God was long-suffering with you, and dealt with you according to His mercy, so should you do also to your neighbor.
“I know,” you say, “that God deals mercifully with us. I am a weak man, and I cannot do likewise.” It is not that you cannot, but that you will not. You cannot walk on water, but what is the difficulty of forgiving? What then do you wish? To execute your wrath and get revenge on your neighbor? That is not weakness, but malice. But remember that it is commanded of Christians, Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children, (Ephesians 5:1). “If,” you say, “I forgive him, then he will do me more evil.” You do not know this. But even if he does you evil, let him do what he will. You should do what is yours, what is commanded of you and necessary for your salvation. If he will not correct himself, he shall receive according to his deeds. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still (Apocalypse 22:11). “He,” you say, “has grievously offended me.” There can be no more grievous an offense than that done to Christ your Savior, Whom they not only blasphemed, reviled, mocked, spat upon, derided, struck, and bound, but they even crowned Him with a crown of thorns, and nailed Him to the Cross, and as they passed by they cursed Him Who was nailed, and they put Him to death. Whom? The Son of God and the Lord of Glory. What are you next to so great a Person, and what is your offense next to His? As nothing.
No one spits on you, no one even strikes you, no one crowns you with thorns, and the rest. Christ the Lord endured all these things with great meekness and long-suffering. For whom? For me and for you, His unworthy servants. And not only did He endure all this, but He also prayed for His enemies, Father, forgive them, (Luke 23:34). Look on this patience as in a mirror and consider, and you will no doubt forgive your neighbor. “If,” you say, “I should forgive, then people will mock me.”
To the impious and lovers of this world the Christian life and the morality of the Gospel is a scandal and foolishness, but it is wisdom before God. You should do what the Gospel teaches and not as people say. Let the mockers mock, but afterward they will weep bitterly, and already too late, for their conscience itself will reprove them. (to be continued)