Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times. “For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
Food For Thought:
In this passage, Peter asks Jesus how many times he has to forgive. Jesus tells him 70 times 7, which means there is no limit to the number of times that we have to forgive one another. One of my favorite theologians, Frederick Buechner, makes this statement in his book, Wishful Thinking, “When somebody you’ve wronged forgives you, you’re spared the dull and self-diminishing throb of a guilty conscience. When you forgive somebody who has wronged you, you’re spared the dismal corrosion of bitterness and wounded pride. For both parties, forgiveness means the freedom again to be at peace inside their own skins and to be glad in each other’s presence.” Forgiveness allows us to not let others take residence in our minds and thoughts and find a sense of peace. The Bible talks a great deal about forgiveness because it is one of the greatest things that we can do for others and for ourselves. Think of a situation in your own life that needs healing. Seek out forgiveness today or offer forgiveness to someone that has wronged you.
Your voice burns within the depths of our being, O God of our ancestors, and draws us into your presence in love and service. Hear the cries of your people and speak a word of comfort, that we may proclaim to all the earth the glory of your name. Amen.