Jesus goes against the usual convention by prescribing perfect and complete forgiveness as a lifelong practice. Where’s the fairness in that, we ask. After all, how often have we found ourselves, having been aggrieved, wanting – no, demanding compensation. A pound of flesh. An eye for an eye. And if we’re not compensated right away, how we seethe in anger, even stoking it, justifying ourselves that we’re just after what’s fair. Jesus throws all of that out the window. Why? He wants us to move on, be at peace. Recall confession, and the lightness that you feel afterwards. Recall admitting to someone that you messed up. Recall the liberation, the lightness afterwards. In sharing this story with Peter, Jesus tells us that we must all learn to forgive, so that we can move on and liberate not only the person who has offended us, but more importantly ourselves. God Himself sits ready to forgive, every time we go to confession. All we have to do is ask for forgiveness – genuinely, from the heart. Not like the first servant in the parable who, it turned out, didn’t mean it when he asked for forgiveness and was just manipulating his master. That doesn’t quite cut it with our Lord. What Jesus requires is true and genuine remorse, a resolve to sin no more. And even if we sin again, we can come back, and God will be ready to forgive – seven times seventy times. Perfect forgiveness. Each and every time we ask for it. How wonderful is that!
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