by Joreen Amato Morales, 4th year AB Christian Education Major
Have you wholeheartedly forgiven those people who caused you so much pain in your life?
Let me tell you a story, it is about a young lady who suffered too much in her life. This young lady loved her father dearly that she admired everything about her father. She sees him once a month or once every two months. It would be a blessing for her if her father stays at home for a week or two. She makes sure that her father’s short visits are wonderful and meaningful. She would wait for her father to come home and sees to it that he would receive a warm welcome and that everything her father needs are at hand. That’s a routine for her to show her love for her father. One day she attended their family reunion, she waited for her father expecting him to attend the occasion but she soon realized that her father won’t be coming. She soon found out that her father chose to be with other girl instead of being with their family. She was deeply hurt. From then on, she never looked at her father the same way again. That began to harbour hatred and loath towards her father. She hates being hugged or kissed by him and can’t stand being with him for too long. For her, her father was a stranger and a man who committed adultery. Time passed but she never learned to forgive her father.
Our text talks about forgiveness. Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines forgiveness as an act of forgiving or state of being forgiven. In our discussion with Rev. Rhoniel Arevalo, forgiveness is a two-way-street—one will ask for forgiveness and the other forgives. That’s the only time you will experience forgiveness.
Peter asked Jesus on how many times he should forgive his brother who sinned against him. Jesus answered seventy-seven times. Why do you think did Jesus answer seventy-seven times? Isn’t it too much? If we keep on forgiving those people for seventy-seven times, we might come to a point where we say, “ayoko na… pagod na ako.. tama na.. sobra na…hindi ako tanga..nasasaktan na ako..hangngang kalian kita uunawain at papatawarin?” We’ll soon get tired and give up on them. To ask for forgiveness or to forgive is not an easy thing to do. The pride and hatred overwhelms and soon devours our soul and harden our hearts to release forgiveness or to ask for forgiveness.
It is difficult, right? That’s the meaning of seventy-seven times. No matter how hard it is to forgive and to ask for forgiveness, we still need to give and do it. It is not a matter of math. The number seven represents perfect. In forgiveness, seven represents perfect and total forgiveness. We ask for forgiveness by confessing and repenting from the sins we’ve committed to God and to people. Whoever counts has not forgiven at all.
The parable showed forgiveness. A king or a master forgave his servant when he saw him fell on his knees and begged by cancelling the servant’s debt. But the servant didn’t do the same to his fellow servant who owed him even when his fellow servant fell on his knees and begged. The king represents Jesus and we are the servant, the fellow servant as our brother’s and sister’s, and the debt as sins. The parable said that the servant owed the king ten thousand talents. “Ten thousand” is the largest possible number and a talent is the largest monetary unit at that period; it is equal to 6,000 drachmas, the wages of manual labourer for fifteen years. It’s big, isn’t it? It only means that the servant has an unpayable debt–unforgiveable. The consequence of not paying a debt is imprisonment. Because of this, the more the debtor can’t pay his due because he is already in prison. No one can pay the debt now unless someone pays for him. The servant’s situation is tight, right? That’s the reason why he asked for the king’s mercy and was granted his request. That action showed the king’s generosity and his merciful and forgiving. On the other hand, the forgiven servant saw his fellow servant and asked him to pay his hundred denarii debt while grabbing him and began choking him. Hundred denarii which were too little compared to what he owes his master. His harden heart didn’t give the fellow servant the same mercy he received from the king even after his fellow servant pleaded like he did to the king. When the king found out what he did, he sent the servant to jail to be tortured until he could pay his debt.
In our life, we have experienced being forgiven, isn’t it? It is only right therefore that we extend that same forgiveness to others. Let’s exercise that value while we still can so we won’t regret it later on. The king forgave the servant despite his huge debt. It is unforgiveable to squander someone’s money which he earned through his hard. But like what I said earlier, the king was generous, merciful and forgiving so he forgave him. We ask for forgiveness to Jesus for the sins we have committed and Jesus forgave us wholeheartedly. The challenge for us now is to learn to forgive and give chance to the persons who have sinned against us. That was the lesson given and taught to the servant yet he failed to practice it to his fellow servant. As we received forgiveness from Jesus, let us also be willing to forgive and be humble to ask for forgiveness to others. Let’s offer it to God when nothing happens or there’s no response from those people whom we have asked for forgiveness, let Him do His will. It is beyond our control. Just pray for them and be good to them no matter how they act towards you. And never count how many times you’ve forgiven them. It is a hard task but being forgiven is a blessing that needs to be shared to all. It is about walking your talk.
When we don’t forgive, we became bitter to the person—we won’t talk or approach that person. But don’t we ever realize that when we don’t forgive or ask for forgiveness, it is our own self being put behind bars? Forgiveness is being humble: meekly accepting your mistake and/or letting others feel that you have forgiven them. A sincere person who’s asking for forgiveness will definitely say, “I am sorry and I won’t do it again.” While a sincere person who have truly forgiven the debtor would keep no records of mistakes. Isn’t it wonderful when we give forgiveness rather than being tortured and stressed out because of the hurt and anger eating us? Right? Jesus taught us the ability to ask for forgiveness and to forgive, so let us apply it in our life so that we won’t stop from loving. To forgive is to love. Like Jesus said, “love your enemies”, loving your enemies is to give them your forgiveness.
Going back to my story: One day while on a class, she can’t stopped from crying because of the big revelation to her—the revelation of forgiveness. The two-way-street and the importance of forgiveness. Her father called her and was shocked of what her father told her. He asked for forgiveness to her about being with other girl. The young lady was so surprised of her answer—“I forgive you”. She felt lightweight. Renewed and refresh is how she can described how she felt that moment.
My question now:
Will you forgive the murderer of your mother/father? Will you forgive your parent who committed infidelity? Will you forgive the person who abused you verbally/physically? Will you forgive the person who broke your heart and shattered it into pieces? Will you forgive the person who raped you? Will you forgive those people who talked negatively against you? Will you forgive those people who put you down? Will you forgive those people who put you to shame? Will you forgive those people who lied to you? Will you forgive those people who stole something precious to you?
I tell you, it is hard to forgive yet very renewing, refreshing and transforming in the end. Jesus said, “Whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” If we release forgiveness here on earth, our heavenly Father will surely to release forgiveness too.
Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling. Forgiveness is freeing your soul from prison. There is nothing sweeter than the day we find forgiveness in our heart.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. God bless us all. To God be all the glory and praise.