The Kingdom of Heaven is a kingdom where those of the greatest power are those who are weak, and those of the highest standing are the most humble. There is justice, but it isn’t about the satisfaction of retribution, but rather the restoration of what ought to be, and the reconciliation of relationship. Forgiveness, rather than condemnation, is the Kingdom’s response to offence; freedom is not earned, but rather given. Such is the grace of God that our King calls us to forgive as He forgives: over, and over, and over again. Suffice it to say that we are called to always forgive, as often as God has forgiven us. What a strange Kingdom that even the lowliest subject is called to live in the manner of their King!
Jesus gives us a vivid image of not only the mercy of God, but the importance of being merciful ourselves, lest we close ourselves to God’s mercy. The king in the story—an image of our own King—forgives a tremendous debt owed him. But when he sees that same man refusing to show similar mercy on a fellow subject whose debt is much less, the forgiveness is withdrawn and the hard-hearted man is thrown not into a debtor’s prison, but to the torturers. As yesterday, the petition in the Lord’s Prayer echoes in our hearts: “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” How can we receive the forgiveness of God if our hearts are imprisoned in the chains of unforgiveness? “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)
This imperative to forgive is perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of our Christian life, but it is so necessary: the whole of the Christian faith, after all, hinges upon our need for God’s mercy and forgiveness and the fact that He has given and continues to give that mercy and forgiveness. Forgive. Forgive. Even if at first it seems insincere, even if it hurts. Forgive, and beg Jesus for the help and grace you need to truly forgive in your heart. You needn’t tell the other person, you needn’t make a grand gesture. Forgive, and let Jesus help you to move that mountain of hurt, even if only one pebble at a time.