Voce mea ad Dominum

Random thoughts from an amateur theologist.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Seven times to infinity

Peter approached Jesus and asked him,“Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times." - Matthew 18:21-22

The mercy of God is infinite simply because God is infinite. We though created in the image of God are not infinite, however, Jesus in these verses teaches us that our mercy must be infinite.

Here's why. God rules everything. For us to sin against his infinite majesty is no small thing, but in his mercy, he forgives us and sets aside the infinite punishment that is due us. We, on the other hand, rule nothing, so when someone sins against us, it is not nearly as great an offense. So if God can forgive us our sins against him which are infinitely offensive, why shouldn't we forgive our brothers and sisters who have sinned against us because the discrepancy between our sin against God and those who sin against us is incalculable.

To illustrate this point Jesus tells the parable of the King who forgives the huge debt of one of his servants who had no way of paying it back. This is a great gift from the King. But the servant then goes out and comes across another a fellow servant who owed him a much smaller amount, yet demanded that it be paid in full and when the fellow servant could not pay it, the first servant had him thrown in prison. When the king found out of the first servant's behavior, he had the servant thrown to the torturers until he should pay back the entire debt.

So during this time of Lent, a time of reflection and penance, I choose to consider the people who have caused me pain, and to forgive them from my heart. Sometimes not the easiest thing to do but according to the Master, absolutely necessary.


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