Forgive and be Healed . . Forgive and be like Jesus
"I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times." ~ Matthew 18:22
Amidst the drawings of rainbows, waterfalls, and green-eyed felines of every shape, breed, size, and color drawn by my niece that are affixed to my refrigerator is a magnet bearing the image of the photo that I chose for today’s reflection. It most certainly serves as a poignant reminder and appropriate segue into Jesus’ teaching today.
In our Gospel (Matthew 18:21-19:1) we are taught an unforgettable lesson in forgiveness via the parable of the “wicked servant.” It is here that Jesus tells the story of a man with insurmountable debts who seeks patience from his master. The gracious master indeed shows him the compassion and patience he yearns for. When the tables are turned however, and the servant is faced with a similar situation, he refuses to give an inch, instead imprisoning the man who owed him a far lesser amount.
Whenever we’re tempted to wallow in anger, wrath, revenge, pettiness or judgement, this Gospel serves as the perfect reminder to keep these emotions in check. The stark reality of the matter remains that whatever anyone has done to wrong or cheat us, it pales in comparison to what was done to Jesus on the cross. Or for that matter, that which we inflict upon Jesus when we sin. And yet he forgives unconditionally, relentlessly and without pause.
In order to attempt to walk in our Lord’s footsteps, we must strive to make this type of forgiveness a part of our spiritual DNA. To be merciful, as our Heavenly Father is merciful (Luke 6:36).
“The remedy for life's broken pieces is not classes, workshops or books. Don't try to heal the broken pieces. . . . Just forgive." ~ Iyanla Vanzant