This is rather apparent in the Our Father. “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” When we pray this prayer, we bring condemnation upon our self if we do not forgive others. But, what does forgiveness mean?
Forgiveness does not mean forgetting. Forgive your neighbor for stealing. But if you forget that your neighbor has a weakness for stealing, you will put your neighbor in a situation where he will be tempted. If every time that you walk past your neighbor, he trips you and beats you. You are called to forgive him, but it is best to remember and take a different route home. It preserves your physical health and preserves your neighbor’s spiritual health.
Our great nation has a great judicial motto, “innocent until proven guilty.” But do we do the same in our lives? If we hear about a someone that does something questionable, we immediately assume their guilt. First, we should understand that there may be a good reason for what they did. Of course, there are some things that are always and everywhere wrong, but we judge a person’s intentions when we cannot be certain of their intentions.
We are not to judge others. Indeed, we need to judge actions, as we need to act uprightly ourselves. We must keep from assuming, though. Just as St. Joseph did not assume Mary sinned, though he knew she was pregnant. “Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.” – [Matthew 1:19] He would not have been a righteous man if he knew she had committed adultery and he did not bring her to be stoned. Though, it would not take much to assume she had sinned, he did not assume anything. We assume much more than this all of the time, let us learn to be more like St. Joseph.