OPINION | Sorry is as sorry does

by F. Bustamante

Forgiveness is one of the central tenets of the Catholic faith. We believe that God forgives our sins no matter what. There's just a few 'rules': we have to be sincerely sorry and resolve not to do it again, and we are admonished to extend the same spirit of forgiveness to others as God does to us  (not so easy to do sometimes).

In the world that we live in, one cannot help but wonder if 'forgiveness' has become a 'commodity' of convenience, a revolving door that guarantees cleansing even when sinning has become a way of life. Case in point is the culture of inconsistency in a society such as the Philippines.  It's hard to understand how a predominantly -Catholic country can be so deep in un-Catholic ways, where greed and corruption, apathy and lack of love for another allows human dignity and the common good to become nothing more than empty words. Perhaps because we are guaranteed forgiveness as long as we are sorry gives confidence to some that they can break the laws of God and still be saved in the end.

This kind of thought process suggests a one-way street, where it's God who keeps on giving while His people just keeps on taking. Perhaps it's time to pay attention to the most important admonition of Jesus Christ, the very reason he took on human form, lived amongst us, suffered and died on the Cross: LOVE.

"Love one another as I have loved you" is the central and most important teaching of Jesus Christ. It goes to the core of the existence of the Church, the Body of Christ whose members are so connected there is just no other way to look at it but in Unity. To love another is to love God and to love yourself- it is a circle that opens the door to purpose and peace. It is when we exit that circle that we find ourselves lost, for how can you hurt someone without hurting God and yourself? We are all connected; there is just no other way around that.

We should not judge lest we be judged (another not-so-easy thing to do) but anyone with eyes can see just how un-Christian the Filipino society can be as moral decline, social insensitivity, unfettered desire for power and accumulation of wealth (to the detriment of the poor and vulnerable) take hold.
In the end, God forgives. But the empty 'sorry's' of our lives may make it difficult to forgive our own selves.