forgiving from the heart
" 'Pay back what you owe,' he demanded." —Matthew 18:28
Jesus commands us to forgive people from our hearts (Mt 18:35). In the context of today's parable, that means we must, in our hearts, consider the account paid off. The books have been balanced and the slate wiped clean.
How can we determine if we've forgiven others from our hearts? If we continue to look for some kind of reward or return from those who hurt us, we have not truly forgiven from our hearts. If you answer "yes" to any of these questions, you have not closed the books yet on the account:
- If the spouse who has hurt you so much is praised in public, are you inwardly angry and looking for justice?
- Are you disturbed if those who damaged your reputation are honored by your co-workers, respected by your fellow parishioners, or successful in their projects?
- Do you find yourself dreaming about the other person being shamefully exposed and yourself fully vindicated?
- Do you "keep score" of old wounds? (see 1 Cor 13:5)
Jesus forgave from His heart. His immediate reward for this was to be publicly mocked, humiliated, and brutalized. He had so much love and forgiveness for us that He refused to count the cost of forgiving us from the heart. He silently bore our punishment, and we got off free. Imitate Jesus. Forgive first. Forgive to the point of looking bad yourself. Forgive completely. Forgive regardless of the cost. Forgive from your heart.
Prayer: Father, may I be so secure in Your love that I won't look for satisfaction anywhere else. I forgive all who have hurt me.
Promise: "I canceled your entire debt when you pleaded with me." Mt 18:32
Praise: Though king, St. Stephen made certain he was accessible to the poor and oppressed, and strove to provide justice for them.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 15, 2017
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