The Gospel story shows the true meaning of forgiveness which is never-
ending. In short, we are never to keep count when it comes to
forgiveness. Seven is a perfect number; its multiples express the
incalculable; seventy times seven pointing to forgiveness that cannot
be limited to a certain number of times. It, however, must be noted
that the parable of the unforgiving servant shows the pardon principle
but does not entirely fit the present context which deals with
multiple acts of forgiveness.
It is not surprising that our initial reaction to the first servant is
anger for his insensitivity and arrogance. How can he not forgive
another fellow servant who owed him less than what he owed his master?
We are baffled at the refusal of the servant whose mammoth debt was
forgiven to delay the repayment of a trifling sum owed to him.
On further reflection, we feel a certain compassion for the
unforgiving servant for we realize that the man somehow represents all
of us. We cannot deny our sinfulness as we have likewise acted and
continue to behave impulsively and inconsistently with what we
believe. Forgetfulness of our own sins leads us to lack of compassion.
Yet to remember how our sins have gone unpunished by God should lead
us to forgive others. As we continue to be recipients of the loving
mercy and forgiveness of God, this, in turn, is to inspire us to do
the same with others. It seems easy to say to hate the sin but not the
sinner. But, in reality, we have difficulty in separating the act from
the one who committed the sin, pain, and hurt to us. There are
emotional blocks that hinder us from forgiving and reaching out to
others especially those who may have hurt us very deeply. Pride or
lack of humility prevents us from being merciful and understanding to
those who have wronged us.
Jesus represents the ultimate symbol of forgiveness. Who, among us,
would not have been hurt with the triple denial of Peter with regard
to his relationship and friendship with Jesus? But, we know how Jesus
realized how weak and frustrated and sorry Peter was. He kept on
believing his apostles and many people. He kept on giving them
chances. He had a true sense of “try and try again.” Forgiveness does
not mean being a doormat or not using discretion with persons you deal
with and how. Forgiveness means allowing others to make mistakes while
we keep moving forward.