Our Lord tells us the story in the gospel of two men. The first owes the second an amount of money which in today’s currency would be equivalent to $9,000,000. He can’t repay it, and begs for mercy, and the creditor forgives the entire debt. Then that very fortunate man to whom so much was forgiven goes out and meets another man who owes him $15. He demands payment, and when the debtor asks for mercy, refuses to grant it. He has the man thrown into jail until the $15 is repaid. The original creditor who had forgiven the $9,000,000 debt hears of it, calls the merciless fellow back in, and has him thrown into prison until he pays the enormous amount. And then, when Our Lord taught the world the Our Father, he composed it to include the words: “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
Forgiveness is not always easy. We cling to our resentments and our grudges because in some perverted way, they make us feel superior to those who have offended us. We can sit in judgment upon them; we can indulge in the proud feeling that we are better than they are because we did them no wrong, and yet they wronged us. If we forgive them, then in a sense that wipes the slate clean and we are back on an even footing again. Have you ever known someone who claims to be a Christian and yet nurses grudges and resentments? I’m sure all of us have. And what is worse: we may be, or have been, that kind of Christian ourselves. That’s not only an un-Christian stance to take, but a dangerous one, since we ask God to forgive us AS WE FORGIVE. We better listen carefully to what we are saying. Merciful Savior, make us merciful. Heart of Jesus, full of forgiveness, teach us to forgive others so that we may expect forgiveness of you. Thank you for seeking God’s truth, God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This message was composed some years ago.