Orthodox Church of the Mother of God

Joy of all the Sorrowful - Mays Landing, NJ (f. 1966)

On Forgiving Offenses

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On Forgiving Offenses: The Parable of the Unmerciful Creditor

During one conversation with Jesus Christ, the Apostle Peter came to Him and asked, "Lord! How often shall my brother (my neighbour) sin against me (that is, if he in some way offends me), and I forgive him? As many as seven times?"

Jesus Christ said to him, "I do not say to you seven times but seventy times seven;" — that is, forgive without counting to count.

To explain this better, Jesus Christ told a parable. "One man owed the king ten thousand talents (about ten thousand dollars). As he could not pay, the King ordered him to be sold with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees imploring him, ‘Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him the lord of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But that same servant, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, (about twenty dollars). Seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and besought him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison till he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then, his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you besought me; and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger, his lord delivered him to the jailers till he should pay all his debt."

After the parable, Jesus Christ said, "So also My Heavenly Father will do to every one of you if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."

In this parable the king represents God. The man who owed a huge sum to the king represents us. The debt is our sins. By the fellow servants are meant those people who in some way are guilty before us (our debtors).

From this parable, it is evident that everyone, who is evil to his neighbour for some sort of fault of theirs and does not want to forgive them, does not deserve the mercy of God.


Note: See the Gospels of Matthew 18:21-35 and Luke 17:3-4.

 
(from: The Law of God by Fr. Seraphim Slobodskoy)

 

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