Although we may think that we are righteous, in reality none of us are truly righteous (Roman 3:23), because, deep in our heart we harbor hate, anger, jealousy and pride. This becomes very evident when someone hurts us or our interests are interfered with. When we are hurt or insulted, we feel that we have lost something or that something has been taken away from us. We then feel that if we take revenge we can get even with out offender. We generally call revenge with various righteous sounding terms such as restitution, justice and punishment. We tend to overlook the fact that everything in this World is inconsequential, because, they are not permanent; and that our only true treasure, which never gets destroyed, is God’s love for us. While it is true that everyone must face the consequences of their wrongful acts, we must keep in mind that when we decide to punish someone for their wrongful act, we must make sure we are without sin. We must keep in mind the story of the woman caught in the act adultery. When the people were about to stone her to death (John 8:1-11), Jesus told them that, the one without sin should cast the first stone. They all left, because, they were all sinners, just like the women. Jesus was without sin, but He did not stone her either, because, His mission was to heal our souls and not to judge us. In fact, He freed us from our sins by taking the punishment of the sins of all human beings, by dying on the cross (Matt. 26:28). He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the World. He therefore, fulfills the requirement of the law, which is to pay the price for our offenses. The following are some of the important aspects of His forgiveness. He compensated for our sins that we committed against Him by sacrificing His own life. In other words, the victim compensated for the sins of His offenders. This is a very important fact, because, this is true forgiveness. If we have to accept His forgiveness, we must believe in it by doing like wise. In other words, we must not only write-off what our offenders owe us, but also put our lives on the line in the process of helping them to recover from their sinful ways. When we sin against God, we sin against an infinitely merciful God. Our sins against Him therefore, are infinitely grave. On the other hand, when one human being sins against another human being he/she is sinning against a finite being. Therefore, our sins against God are much more grave than any one else’s sin against us. Since God has forgiven us of all our grave offenses we have committed against Him, we must forgive our fellow human beings of their offenses. This reason is illustrated in the story of the unforgiving servant (Matt. 18:21-34) whose master out of compassion and mercy forgave him of a very large sum of money that he owed the master. He in turn however, did not forgive his fellow worker of a much smaller sum. This of course did not go well with the master who then severely punished the servant for not being forgiving towards his fellow worker. The forgiveness of God is also seen in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). Here, although the son had rejected His father and went on to live a wasteful life, his father was filled with joy when he saw him return home. He forgave all his offenses, healed his spirit and brought him back into his household. God too is happy when we accept His forgiveness and healing, and return to Him. God is not concerned about Himself when we offend Him. Rather, He is concerned about the hurt we cause ourselves when we offend and disobey Him. When Jesus was carrying His cross on the way to Calvary and met the women of Jerusalem who were weeping for Him, He was more concerned about the suffering that was going to come upon them, rather than the suffering He was going through (Luke 23:28). Forgiveness is the very heart of Christianity, because, Christianity has to do with redemption and redemption has to do with forgiveness. The whole redemption history revolves around God’s forgiveness. It consists of God redeeming us from sin, by compensating for our sins by His sacrifice. Furthermore, it consists of healing, where God gives us His sacrificial body and blood as real food (John 6:55), so that we may eat it, and be healed (John 6:33). It also consists of union with God (John 6:56) by us receiving His flesh and blood and by us being part of His body, His Church. Forgiveness also has to do with, returning home, to God’s home and to accepting God’s Fatherhood over us. By His sacrificial act Jesus brings us into the household of God. Forgiveness, therefore, is an act of compassion, mercy and true love. God offers us forgiveness, which we receive through baptism. It is up to us to accept it or refuse it. We can accept it by making His forgiveness our way of life. If we reject it we are rejecting God’s forgiveness. This leads to eternal death. The scriptures are very clear about forgiveness and mercy. In James 2:13 we are told that mercy is above law. In Matt. 6:14-15 we are told that we would not be forgiven if we do not forgive others. In the Lord’s Prayer (Luke 6:12) we ask God to forgive us the way we forgive others. In Luke 17:4 Jesus tells us that we must forgive others repeatedly. In Luke 6:27-36 Jesus tells us to love our enemy, pray for them, do good for them, if someone takes our coat, give them our shirt as well, offer the other cheek if someone slaps us on one, lend and do not expect it back and be merciful like our heavenly Father. In Romans 12: 17-21 Paul tells us to not pay evil with evil, never take revenge, feed our enemy, not allow evil to defeat us and to over come evil with good. He further tells us in 1Cor. 6:7 that a legal dispute is a sign of our complete failure; and that it is better to be wronged or robbed than to wrong others or rob them.