Matthew 18: 21-35

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.”

Gospel Reflection

Jesus tells a parable about a man who is forgiven a huge debt by a king. The debt is so big that nobody could ever expect to pay it off, but the king forgives him. The man finds another servant who owes him a few thousand dollars and refuses to show the same grace that he has received. The result is that the king rescinds his previous decision and has the man thrown into prison.

Forgiveness is at the heart of the gospel. Firstly God forgives us of our entire catalogue of sin. Then he expects us to live out the same grace in our daily lives. To harbour resentment, bitterness and unforgiveness is to show that we have not allowed the grace of God to deeply penetrate our hearts.
Forgiving other people is hard work. It goes against our human nature to do this. Most of us want to keep a record of wrongs to justify ourselves. The deeper the hurt we have suffered the longer it will take to move to the place of letting go.

God’s commandment is that we must love our enemies, and His kind of love keeps no record of wrongs.