Violets are truly a bizarre and eccentric kind of flower. If one could say that they have quirks, then one of them must be the fleeting and puzzling aroma that these highly-recognizable purple flowers exude. Without launching into a lesson in botany, it is sufficed to reveal that these flowers contain a ketone compound called ionone, which temporarily desensitizes the receptors of the nose, thus preventing any further scent being detected from the flower until the nerves recover. Admirers will only sense the smell of violets for only a few moments at a time, before the ionone “blinds” the senses and then the aroma miraculously returns just as fragrant as before.
Mark Twain must also have known of this phenomenon as he once commented: “Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.” Similarly, it is like the thought about forgiving our neighbor. It may be hard to grasp or comprehend at first but is always pleasant and surprising as it makes its way back to the one who forgives.
“Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him?” Seven is God’s perfect number, and so the advice that Jesus gives to us today has little to do with quantity but rather with the quality of our intention when we say we forgive. If our desire to unburden another for whatever reason, then it must be done in love. Maybe we could say that the most effective missionary at our disposal is our desire and ability to forgive. Life has the potential of becoming much more pleasant and wonderful when we learn to accept the apology we may never receive. It is a profound virtue.
“Forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.” Jonathan Lockwood Huie