I find it quite revealing that the parable Jesus uses to reinforce his teaching about forgiveness has to do with money. Money and the ways and means by which we attain it have a very high priority in most peoples’ lives. Money can tend to consume our lives in ways that are very unhealthy and destructive. In the same way harboring unforgiveness in our hearts can have exactly the same result! The refusal to forgive someone when they have hurt us is just as effective at isolating us from them and probably numerous other people as is the desire and obsession to be wealthy. I am not saying that we should have nothing to do with earning money; the way the world is means that we have to have some concern with this matter, however, there are more important things than wealth in our lives just as there are more important things than remembering the hurts that others may have inflicted upon us.

 

The parable tells us of the story of a merciful king who forgives the debt of one of his servants. He decides that there is an issue at stake here that is far more important than the mere collection of loaned money. We then hear of the unwillingness of that very same servant to forgive the debts, much less than his own, of his fellow servants to him. This situation confronts us with the reality of our own situation, not concerning money but vis-à-vis those who have hurt us or sinned against us in general. This is the whole purpose of the parable!

 

I think that Jesus chooses to use money as an image for forgiveness because he knows how difficult it is for us to let go of money and to ‘write off’ a debt so to speak. However, it is exactly this action that has to take place in our hearts in order for us to minister forgiveness to one another. Each of us has to make this choice many times in our lives – will we or wont we forgive the sins of those who sin against us? And, in order for us to make this choice in the proper context we must remember the fact that God has chosen to forgive all of our sins! This is an essential aspect of the Good News that Jesus reveals to us in His ministry and that we are meant to proclaim to the ends of the earth.

 

To what degree and with how much ease am I able to forgive those who have sinned against me? Do I properly take into account God’s forgiveness of my sins in this regard?

 

Lord Jesus, you died on a cross as a demonstration of the depth of your commitment to me and so my sins are forgiven. Help me to remember this as I confront the sins of others in my life. Teach me your way of mercy and love.