Today’s Gospel: Matthew 18:21-35
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus gives us a difficult lesson. He asks us to take a good, hard look at our own hearts and let go of the unforgiveness and bitterness we are harboring there.
Jesus’ invitation to have mercy on those who have hurt or wronged us can be painful and seem unfair. But the ability to do so is vital and essential in our walk as Christians.
Two key phrases in today’s passage help us discover that the Lord lends us His own love and mercy to accompany us on our journey toward forgiveness.
“Be patient with me…”
When I look back on all the ways I have offended God — both big and small — I cannot help but recognize God’s incredible patience with me. Even in the midst of my current struggles, He walks with me in my pain; I am never alone. He receives me, and you, with open arms every time we enter the confessional; He never tires of forgiving us (Evangelii Gaudium). And when God forgives, He also, in a sense, forgets. He doesn’t hold on to our offenses; He lets them go.
“Moved with compassion …”
When it comes to us, His children, God is constantly moved with compassion. When we go astray, His never leaves us. Even when what we are doing makes Him sad, He is always ready to forgive our debt. And when we finally reach out to God for His mercy and forgiveness, His compassion is stirred up again, and it pours out from His heart to mend our wounds.
While the road to being truly merciful is not easy, Jesus paves the way for us by demonstrating patience and compassion with us. In turn, He desires us to extend that same patience and compassion to those who have hurt us.
Is there someone in your life who is difficult to forgive? Ask Jesus to lend you His mercy and walk with you on your path to forgiveness and healing.
Merciful Father, thank You for never tiring of forgiving us. Help us to extend the forgiveness we have received to someone who we need to forgive.
Copyright 2017 Sarah Damm