REFLECTION | ‘We forgive seven times seven times seven’

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Photo by Bernard Testa/InterAksyon file photo.

Then Peter asked him “Lord, how many times must I forgive the offenses of my brother or sister? Seven times?”

Jesus answered, “No not seven times, but seven times seven times. This story throws light on the kingdom of Heaven; A King decided to settle accounts with his servants. Among the first of them was on who owed him ten thousand pieces of gold. As the man could not repay the debt, the king commanded that he be sold as a slave with his wife, his children and all his goods, as repayment. The servant threw himself at the feet of the king and said ‘Give me time, and I will pay you back everything.’

“The king took pity on him and not only set him free but even canceled his debt. When this servant left the king’s presence, he met one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred pieces of silver. He grabbed him by his throat and almost choked him, shouting, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ his fellow servant threw himself at his feet and begged him, ‘Give me time, and I will pay everything.’

“But the other did not agree, and sent him to prison until he had paid all his debt. Now the servants of the king saw what had happened. They were extremely upset, and so they went and reported everything to their lord. Then the lord summoned his servant and said, ‘Wicked servant, I forgave you all that you owed me when you begged me to do so. Weren’t you bound to have pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you? The lord was now angry. He handed the wicked servant over to be punished, until he had paid the whole debt.”

Jesus added, “So will my heavenly Father do with you unless you sincerely forgive your brothers and sisters.”
—Matthew 18:21-35

How many times do we forgive those who have wronged us? How many chances do we give to people who were not kind to us and wanted to befriend us? How long can we be more understanding and forgiving to those who offended us?

In our gospel reading, Jesus was asked by Peter on how many times must one forgive the offenses that a brother or sister had committed? Jesus answered Peter that it is seven times seven times, or it means it has no limit. We are then asked by the Lord to always be understanding and forgiving towards others.

Afterwards, the Lord Jesus shared a story about the kingdom of heaven. It is about a king who settled his accounts with his servants who owed him. The servant who owed him a lot was forgiven because the king had pity on him. Then, the servant who was forgiven by the king met another servant who had owed him a hundred pieces of silver but he grabbed the servant and demanded for his payment.

The servant begged for more time so he can pay his debt but the other servant did not agree. He was thrown into prison until he had paid all his debt. Some servants of the king had seen everything and reported what happened to the king. The king was mad and confronted his servant; “Wicked servant, I forgave you all that you owed me when you begged me to do so. Weren’t you bound to have pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you? The lord was now angry. He handed the wicked servant over to be punished, until he had paid the whole debt.”

The parable of the wicked and ungrateful servant gives us lessons in life. Justice is the fruit of mercy. Justice and mercy are essentials in our relationships with others especially to those who have hurt us and wronged us. How responsible are we to our attitudes toward others and the conduct of our deeds?

It is good to really ask ourselves, ‘Do we have a forgiving and loving heart? Do we give other people the chance to make up and make amendments of their faults and mistakes? We have to forgive if we want to grow and become better persons and Christians. Let us see the difference, from our past and now in our present time. We have to aspire to be like the king who has a forgiving heart. Like the king who had pity on his servant and freed him from his debts. Let us aim and work had to be like the considerate and compassionate king?

The servant in the parable who was unjust to his fellow servant was condemned by the king instead and put him into prison until he could completely settle his debt.  In our relationship with the others in our family and community, is it easy for us to give someone a chance to correct his or her wrongdoings and to change for the better?

There will always be chances for conversion, every person can change and amend his old ways to better habits. Let us listen to our Lord Jesus as he said: “So will my heavenly Father do with you unless you sincerely forgive your brothers and sisters.”

Let us pray, reflect and ask ourselves:

Do I listen to other’s explanation and opinion?

Am I forgiving person or vengeful?

Have I grown as a person and as a baptized believer?

Am I good and faithful servant and child of God?

Prayer: Almighty and Ever-living God, we are always be grateful of your mercy and love to us. May we learn to accept who we are and what we can do so we can truly and faithfully love, lovingly forgive, and joyfully serve or brothers and sisters. May we grow in grace and love of you so that we may find meaning in what we can offer and share with our brothers and sisters for your glory. This we ask through Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Intention: Let us remember our brothers and sisters who cannot forgive themselves and others; those who are hurt and confused and do not know what to do with their lives; may the Lord show them the right way and guide them to the right path.