Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, if my
brother keeps on sinning against me, how many
times do I have to forgive him? Seven
times?" "No, not seven times," answered
Jesus, "but seventy times seven, because the Kingdom of
heaven is like this. Once there was a king who
decided to check on his servants' accounts. He had
just begun to do so when one of them was brought in who owed
him millions of pounds. The servant did not have
enough to pay his debt, so the king ordered him
to be sold as a slave, with his wife and his children and all that
he had, in order to pay the debt. The servant
fell on his knees before the king. 'Be patient
with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay you everything!' The king
felt sorry for him, so he forgave him the debt
and let him go. "Then the man went out and met
one of his fellow-servants who owed him a few
pounds. He grabbed him and started choking him. 'Pay
back that you owe me!' he said. His
fellow-servant fell down and begged him, 'Be
patient with me, and I will pay you back!'
But he refused; instead, he had him thrown into jail until he
should pay the debt. When the other servants saw
what had happened, they were very upset and went
to the king and told him everything. So he called the servant in.
'You worthless slave!' he said. 'I forgave you
the whole amount you owed me, just because you
asked me to. You should have had mercy on your fellow-servant,
just as I had mercy on you.' The king was very
angry, and he sent the servant to jail to be
punished until he should pay back the whole amount."
And Jesus concluded, "That is how my Father in heaven will treat
every one of you unless you forgive your brother from your
Matthew 18: 21-35
In these words from Matthew's Gospel it is easy to see how Jesus
uses parables to help us understand the things that God wants us to
do. In this tale it is how we are to forgive people. It also shows
us one of the ways in which the word sinis used. Here it means
something like 'hurting us' or 'saddening us', maybe even 'lying
How many ways can people hurt us?
How easy is it to forgive them?
How do we show this forgiveness?