Matthew 18:21-35

A Story About Forgiveness

At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, “Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?”

 

Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.

 

 “The kingdom of God is like a king who decided to square accounts with his servants. As he got under way, one servant was brought before him who had run up a debt of a hundred thousand dollars. He couldn’t pay up, so the king ordered the man, along with his wife, children, and goods, to be auctioned off at the slave market.

 

“The poor wretch threw himself at the king’s feet and begged, ‘Give me a chance and I’ll pay it all back.’ Touched by his plea, the king let him off, erasing the debt.

 

“The servant was no sooner out of the room when he came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him ten dollars. He seized him by the throat and demanded, ‘Pay up. Now!’

 

“The poor wretch threw himself down and begged, ‘Give me a chance and I’ll pay it all back.’ But he wouldn’t do it. He had him arrested and put in jail until the debt was paid. When the other servants saw this going on, they were outraged and brought a detailed report to the king.

 

“The king summoned the man and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave your entire debt when you begged me for mercy. Shouldn’t you be compelled to be merciful to your fellow servant who asked for mercy?’ The king was furious and put the screws to the man until he paid back his entire debt. And that’s exactly what my Father in heaven is going to do to each one of you who doesn’t forgive unconditionally anyone who asks for mercy.”

Reflection

How often do we find ourselves asking others for forgiveness? When we have been forgiven for the mistakes that we have placed onto others, how often do we feel at peace? If others do not forgive us, how does that leave us feeling? What about when others ask us for forgiveness? What makes us choose to forgive others and do we really forgive those that have hurt us? Or why is it that we choose not to forgive at times?

Those questions are many which we could ask ourselves, but, we only need to look at Jesus to understand what forgiveness truly is. How many times can we recall when Jesus was

hurt by others, and Jesus genuinely forgave those who sought His forgiveness, and carried our mercy rather than contempt. Jesus’ good faith in others and His willingness to practice

mercy displays how Jesus forgave unconditionally and without any barriers.

What is it that we need to do in order to receive forgiveness as well as offer both congruent forgiveness and mercy to others? Perhaps it begins with us seeking God, pouring out to Him our most inner thoughts, and what it is that we are struggling with, and followed by asking Him for mercy and forgiveness. Maybe it is then that we can forgive others from the heart regardless of whether they have asked us for forgiveness or not. We may even offer acts of mercy to those who have caused us pain and refuse to accept the actions which they chose despite the hurt it may be causing us. Jesus is a virtuous role model of love, mercy, and forgiveness personified – may we seek Jesus for our own personal sins and for the sins of others and the world.

Br Gregory Echegwo SDB

Salesian Brother

Prayer

Lord,

No matter how I am feeling,

Please help guide me into Your loving presence,

So that I may speak to you without holding back,

In learning to ask for forgiveness and mercy from You.

May You teach me the meaning of humility,

So that I may wholeheartedly forgive those who have stumbled and hurt me,

By offering both mercy and forgiveness rather than arrogance and hatred,

In Your presence, may I learn to live by Your ways.

Amen.

Prayer of St Francis of Assissi

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

Where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master,

Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;

To be understood as to understand;

To be loved as to love;

For it is in giving that we receive;

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

It is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.