The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
When we talk about crime, crime involves two persons, the criminal and the victim. When we commit sin, there are also two persons involved, the sinner or the offender and the offended party.
Today’s gospel, Jesus is telling us the how often of forgiveness. St. Peter said: “Seven times.” This is because St. Peter was thinking in a Jewish way that they are only allowed to forgive three times, after that no more. By saying it, St. Peter was thinking may be that, that is enough. But Jesus said: ‘Not only seven times but seventy-seven times.” In other words, forgiveness is without limitation. This parable presents to us the reason why Christians should practice limitless forgiveness. The whole message of today’s gospel is the necessity to continuously forgive a person. For this is exactly what God is also doing to us. He never refuses to forgive us every time we ask forgiveness from Him. It is because all are sinners who owe God infinite debt. There is no other way we can ever pay our debt to God than forgiving others.
According to Cherie Carter Scoot in her, If Life is a Game, These are the Rules, said that there are four kinds of forgiveness:
The first one is forgiveness for yourself: That we must be compassionate to ourselves for doing the best under the circumstances we have at that time; make amends then release the situation.
Second is forgiveness of others: when we forgive someone for a moderate transgression by identifying with the person’s motivation so we can realize why the person did what he did; show compassion and then release it.
Third is advanced forgiveness of yourself: This is meant for serious transgressions when we did something that violates our own values and ethics by seeking to understand why we did it; make amends and find it in our hearts to absolve it.
The fourth is advanced forgiveness of others: when we have been wronged or hurt by others to such an extent that forgiveness seems impossible!
Bishop Villegas in his book Jesus In My Heart (p. 38), also said that today’s gospel tells us about what the criminal and the victim should do. There are two:
First, the offender or the sinner should tell the truth. There is no substitute for that. I think, we may suffer for telling the truth but we have peace of mind. We can sleep during the night. The sinner should not create another story or create false accusation or blame anybody but must assume responsibility of his sin.
On the other, the offended party should always be merciful, compassionate, forgive and ready to give pardon. All of us have been offended and we have offended anybody. So what kind of offenders are we? Do we cover our offences with lies? What kind of offended party are we? Are we a forgiving and compassionate offended party?
And so let us learn from the Lord Himself. That let us tell the truth if we are the offender. At the same time let us be compassionate if we are the offended ones towards the offender.
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