Extended reading: Matthew 18:15-22 how to be reconciled with one who has wronged you
23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. 25 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.
26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
28 “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.
29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’
30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.
32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
“Dear God, isn’t it funny how much better I feel when I choose to forgive?” And yet how many times in the course of my life have I chosen to remain angry or carry hatred or fear in my heart towards another one of your children?
It is important to remember that forgiveness is an act of grace. Isn’t forgiveness a reflection of God’s love? Shouldn’t love not only be my first choice, but my ONLY choice? Yes, we enjoy grace given to us by God, but this parable tells us that God expects us to demonstrate at least some small portion of that grace in our relationships with our Christian brothers and sisters.
Jesus teaches us that one must “grant” forgiveness in order to “have” forgiveness. We receive forgiveness ourselves in the person of Jesus. We have first been forgiven by God our Father, so therefore we are to forgive in return.