Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
We are starting the month of February which is widely known for being the month of love. During this month, everyone reads bible verses that talk about love and we celebrate by giving each other chocolates. However, if we stop and think for a moment, we should ask ourselves: “What is the greatest way I can demonstrate love towards someone?” In these previous verses we read about the parable that Jesus told regarding the profound importance of forgiving. In the story, the king who symbolizes Christ summons a man who owed him a lot of money to his palace. This man symbolizes us. Before coming to Christ, we were all sinners that lived in darkness. We were all on the road to perdition.
In the parable, the king decides to forgive the man. This represents the forgiveness of God towards us. The man of the story was very happy because he had been forgiven, but immediately after talking to the king, he encountered a man that owed him a small amount of money and he chose to not forgive him. In the same way, we ask God to forgive us of our faults but we do not want to forgive those that have hurt us in some way. The greatest demonstration of love in the history of humanity was when Jesus died for us and forgave us of all of our sins.
When the king of the story was told about the cruelty of the man, he summons him and tells him that if he was not able to forgive the man who owed him less, he also could not forgive him. God is the same way with us. Many of us refuse to forgive because we think it is our right to hold a grudge. However, the saddest part of this all is that by doing so, we do not realize that from the moment we decided to not forgive, God has also decided to not forgive us of our faults.
Jesus said: “My commandment is this: Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12). God forgave us because of his great love towards us. In the same way, we should forgive out of love. Even if we feel hurt or betrayed we should decide to forgive with love like Christ did. He did not have to forgive us because He is God. However, he decided to because He loves humanity.
In this month, demonstrate love towards your neighbor in the same manner that Jesus demonstrated His love towards us. Decide to forgive and you will not only experience peace in your soul, but you will also receive forgiveness from God and all of your prayers will be answered.