“You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you besought me; and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?” (Matthew 18:32-33)
From the time of Cain and Abel to this day, people have always been wicked to each other. If given the chance, we would destroy all life on earth just to fight others. A servant who owed his master a lot of money was forgiven of his debt but he could not forgive his fellow servant who owed him much less. This parable of Jesus is indeed an everyday reality in our world.
If God could be so gracious to forgive me whenever I cry for mercy, how come I cannot extend a hand of mercy to my fellow brothers and sisters when they ask? Why do we treat badly those at our mercy, and still expect God to be merciful to us when we pray? Why do we often forget the log in our eye and start chasing after the speck in other people’s eyes?
The next time you feel tempted to deal with someone, think about how much God has forgiven you in the past and try to extend this forgiveness to the one who has hurt you. This is always a painful exercise but you can offer that pain to God in union with the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross.
By forgiving him, the master wanted to teach the servant a lesson in forgiveness but given that this servant could not translate the forgiveness he had received to his fellow servant, the master had no choice but make him pay dearly. In truth, as Jesus taught us, “the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be given you.” (Mark 4:24). Again Jesus says: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31)
It surely makes a lot of sense to revenge on the wrongs done to us by others, to teach them a lesson or to show them that we are not to be toiled with. This is often the message in all our action movies – it is the wisdom of the world.
However, as Christians, Jesus expects us to operate with a higher level of wisdom; one that sounds foolish to the world, a wisdom that forgives, that turns the other cheek after receiving a slap, a wisdom that says: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, help me conquer my pride and learn to forgive others. Amen
(Tuesday of the 3rd week of Lent. Bible Study: Daniel 3:34-43, Psalm 25 and Matthew 18:21-35).