Forgiving others is indeed a prerequisite to attain the forgiveness of God for our sins. Jesus said, “If you are about to offer your gift at the altar and you remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar, go at once and make peace with him, and then come back and offer your gift to God. This is the kind of holiness our Lord is asking of us when he said, “I tell you, then, that if you are not righteous in a much broader way than the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.”
There were two brothers whose property was adjacent to each other. One day, there was a misunderstanding between brothers. One morning a carpenter knocked on the older brother’s door and asked for work. The brother thought of putting up a high fence between the properties. After providing the carpenter with the materials, he left for other business. The next day, the brother was surprised to see the work of the carpenter. There was no fence but a bridge stretching from one side of the creek to the other. Then he saw the younger brother coming toward him with his arms outstretched saying: “You are quite a fellow to build this bridge after all I’ve said and done.”
Jesus must be the carpenter who builds a bridge for us if we are afraid and hesitant to reach out to our brothers. Forgiveness takes faith to believe God’s words and forgive rather than cling to our anger and bitterness. It takes faith to believe that peace will eventually come to our troubled heart and soul after we forgive; to trust that vengeance is the Lord’s, if necessary, rather than ours; and to truly love and forgive as Jesus loves and forgives us.