Our scripture this week is Matthew 18:21-35.
Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
Jesus shows us that love is shared through forgiveness. Even when He was falsely accused and killed for us, He prayed “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). He wants us to be able to forgive others in the same way.
“Lord, surely there are some we shouldn’t forgive!” we exclaim. There are people who have done terrible things, intentionally harming God’s creation and His children. Jesus makes no mention of who we may exclude, instead He gives us the example of forgiving those who crucified Him.
Christ’s faithful witness testifies to God’s love. People will be called to account for their actions by the Father and His will and His justice will be done. Until then, we are commanded to love and forgive as He has done for us.
Loving Lord, we find it hard to understand the depth of Your love and mercy for us. Help us to see that only by loving and forgiving each other can we truly claim to be Your children. Amen.