“Let the past stay in the past”; “Let bygones be bygones”; “Let’s just start over from here on”; “Forget about it”…. We have all heard these or similar sayings when we want to move on with our lives. The common denominator of these sayings stem from a message Jesus gave us while he was with us here on Earth: the message of forgiveness!
There is also another dangerous denominator with such sayings that stem not from the examples Jesus taught us, but rather from our own human frailties: denial! These sayings now take on new meanings such as cover-up, escape clauses, pretend it never happened, and forgive and forget, to name a few.
What good is forgiveness when the original sin is not addressed?
Jesus gave us a foundation on which to build our lives around, yet what good is a strong foundation when we use “poor material” to build our lives on? Jesus said:
“Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court with him. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny” (Mt 5:23-26).
Just one “bad stone” we used to build our life with, because it was easier to use, weakens what we build on top of it no matter how good the material used from that moment on is. St. Peter could have taken the easy road after he denied Jesus three times. He could have gone off and said to himself, “From here on out, I won’t deny You anymore,” but no, he chose to seek out God to face Him in true reconciliation for his sin. How different could it have been if St. Peter, who was given the keys to the Kingdom and chose to stand up to lead this new church at Pentecost, took the “easy way” and let the past stay in the past and cover up what happened in that courtyard as Jesus was taken away?
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