If one of our friends, or our fellow students make a bad decision, a mistake, a wrong life-choice, or perhaps they decide to avert from a sensible and right path, should we offer them another chance? Should we be accepting to them, even in their time of immaturity or sin?
‘Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.’ (Eph 4:32)
The Gospel offers us the answer. Let us be that voice of compassion and understanding no matter the circumstance or the decisions made by our neighbour. ‘If he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, I repent, you must forgive him.’ (Lk 17:3-4) It is thus our calling, as Christians, to reach out our hands in reconciliation, to offer our troubled or misbehaving classmate another chance to change. Elder Aimilianos of Mount Athos (check out our ‘online pilgrimage on our website for more information) writes:
‘Love involves being kind to one another. But what does this mean? Saint Paul says, “We are kind by forgiving one another… (Eph 4.32) We must first express ourselves in a way that shows respect and brings joy, communicating an understanding of our respect and care…. We cannot know what is hidden deep in ones soul, but we can assume that buried there is pain and difficulties. We must therefore be very careful to not unknowingly hurt their soul. If we can first bring a “bright face” and make the other person smile in your discussions then both of your hearts are opened. Then it is possible for the Holy Spirit to work…’ Elder Aimilianos.
Many thanks to Archim. Vissarion Kokliotis for the video below, sharing his own thoughts on the Mystery of Confession and its link to the way we offer second chances to others.
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