15. To forgive one's enemies is to ask for forgiveness for oneself. To forgive one 5 friends is to give them proof of your friendship. To be able to forgive offences is to show yourself better than you were. So then, my friends, forgive others in order that God may forgive you, since if you are hard, demanding, inflexible, or if you use severity even against a small offence, how can you expect God to forget that each day you have even greater necessity of indulgence? Oh! Woe to those who say: "I will never forgive," for they pronounce their own condemnation! Moreover, if you searched deeper down inside, perhaps you would find that it is yourself who is the aggressor. In the fight which began as a pinprick and ended in rupture, who knows if the first blow was not cast by you, being the one who let escape harsh words of offence, or perhaps you did not proceed with all the necessary moderation? Without doubt your adversary behaved badly by showing himself to be exceedingly susceptible, but this is yet another reason for being indulgent, so as not to allow yourself to become deserving of the tirade which was launched against you. Let us admit, for the moment, that in a given circumstance you were really offended; who is able to tell if you would not further poison the matter by means of reprisals, or that you would not cause the situation to degenerate into a grave quarrel, when in actual fact the whole matter could easily be forgotten? If the prevention of the consequences of this fact depended on you, and you did nothing to impede them, then you are truly guilty. Finally, let us admit that you do not consider yourself to be deserving of any censure; in this case your merit would be even greater if you showed yourself to be clement.
Nevertheless, there are two very different ways of forgiving, the one being of the lips and the other of the heart. Many people say to their adversary "I forgive you" while inwardly rejoicing at the evil that has returned to them, commenting that he or she has only received what they deserved. How many others say "I forgive you," hastening to add "But I will never be reconciled nor do I ever want to see you again in this life!" Is this then forgiveness according to the Gospel? Surely not! True Christian forgiveness is that which casts a veil over the past and seeing that God is not satisfied with appearances alone, this can be the only kind of forgiveness to be taken into consideration. He listens to the innermost recesses of our hearts, to our most secret thoughts and is never satisfied with mere words or pretence. Complete and absolute forgiveness of all offences is peculiar to great souls, whereas rancour is always a sign of baseness and inferiority. So then, do not forget that true pardon is recognisable for its acts, rather than by the use of mere words. - PAUL, the Apostle (Leon, 1861).