Matthew 18:20-35— For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”
Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.
“But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his fee and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.
“So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”
Centuries ago, when Jesus taught his disciples at Capernaum on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, He said, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there in the midst of them.” It is our precious privilege today to live, meet, and worship in the name of the Savior of mankind and we enjoy His sustaining and regenerating spirit in every facet and dimension of our lives. But Jesus also wants to give us a very important understanding of forgiveness.
Two types of forgiveness appear in the Bible: God’s pardon of our sins, and our obligation to pardon others.
God loves us too much to let us destroy ourselves through sin and so He sent Jesus, His only son into the world, as a sacrifice for our sins and to forgive our sins. Jesus commanded that we repent, or turn away from our sins to receive God’s forgiveness. When we do so, our sins are forgiven, and we are assured of eternal life in heaven.
Our relationship with God is restored, but what about our relationship with our fellow human beings?
If we receive forgiveness from God, we must give it to others who hurt us. We cannot hold grudges or seek revenge. We are to trust God for justice and forgive the person who offended us. Forgiveness means releasing the other from blame, leaving the event in God’s hands, and moving on.
A definition for forgiveness could be – giving up my right to hurt you, for hurting me.
It is important to remember that forgiveness is not granted because a person deserves to be forgiven. Instead, it is an act of love, mercy and grace. How we act towards that person may change. It doesn’t mean we will put ourselves back into a harmful situation or that we suddenly accept or approve of the person’s continued wrong behaviour. It simply means we release them from the wrong they committed against us.
We forgive them because God forgave us!
The key problem in everyone’s relationship with God is not that they sin, but that they are not ashamed of their sin and don’t ask forgiveness – Pope Francis