Gospel – 8/13/20 – Matthew 18:21-19:1
Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
“Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive him?
As many as seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.
That is why the Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who decided to settle accounts with his servants.
When he began the accounting,
a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount.
Since he had no way of paying it back,
his master ordered him to be sold,
along with his wife, his children, and all his property,
in payment of the debt.
At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’
Moved with compassion the master of that servant
let him go and forgave him the loan.
When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants
who owed him a much smaller amount.
He seized him and started to choke him, demanding,
‘Pay back what you owe.’
Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’
But he refused.
Instead, he had the fellow servant put in prison
until he paid back the debt.
Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened,
they were deeply disturbed,
and went to their master and reported the whole affair.
His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant!
I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.
Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant,
as I had pity on you?’
Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers
until he should pay back the whole debt.
So will my heavenly Father do to you,
unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.”
When Jesus finished these words, he left Galilee
and went to the district of Judea across the Jordan.
How easy it is to ask for forgiveness but difficult to forgive.
It is the personal nature of being harmed. I mean, normally it happens to us which, again, makes it personal.
While if we harm, we expect people to see we didn’t mean to harm – if we even acknowledge the harm at all.
Today’s Gospel is a reminder of the great love that God has for us.
I mean, he sent his only son into the World to die for our sins that we might be reconciled.
But, because we were the ones harming many have scoffed at the idea that God can love us that much. It is easier to believe that there is no God at all. Therefore, we don’t have to worry about the harm we do and concentrate, instead, on the harm done to us by others.
And, we get to hold onto that hurt and bring it up again and again. We make that hurt into a hammer to continue to punish others in the future.
If, you say you forgive someone, and then bring that “forgiven” harm up again to continue to punish the person who harmed you – have you truly forgiven?
There is no qualifier to forgiveness. There is no “I forgive you, but . . . “
It is only in forgiving you will heal.
I do not believe it is forgive and forget – but you do have to forgive and then let it go. But you don’t have to forget it completely and open yourself up to more hurt in the future. But, if there is more hurt . . . you have to forgive it again and again and again.
As many as seventy-seven times.
At least that’s what I heard Him say…