Today’s Gospel speaks to us about forgiveness from the heart. Not a walking away from a wrong done to us, not a “simple letting it go”, but a deep decision to forgive. This is more than simply “moving on”…this is about a way of being in the world…a way of living. Forgiveness is a decision of the heart, one that we must live into, one that takes time when the wound has been great.
We live in a society that often confuses justice with revenge. We seek “an eye for an eye” and we call it justice! And yet that is precisely what Jesus warned us against…he calls his disciples beyond the usual standards of conduct, beyond just loving your neighbor to loving your enemy! This is the crux of the matter! How can I forgive someone who has wronged me, someone who has hurt me, made me look foolish, how do I forgive someone who has taken away something I wanted or worse, someone I loved?
I think that in the parable we hear in the Gospel it is a case of the forgiveness received not having been allowed to transform the heart of the one who had been forgiven. For, if he had truly accepted this gift of forgiveness and taken it into his heart, he surely would not have treated his coworker as he did, but would have reacted with the kindness and forgiveness that had been shown to him. This issue was not about whether the money was owed or not. It was about passing on the kindness, compassion and forgiveness that had been shown to the man who owed the large sum to his master who had forgiven his debt.
It is about acknowledging the recklessness of the kindness, compassion and forgiveness that God so lavishly showers upon us in the midst of our sin…and our response to that lavishness is to shower it in turn upon each of our sisters and brothers regardless of the size of their sins against us!
Who most stands in need of my lavish forgiveness today? To whom do I need to seek forgiveness, from God, from sister or brother? How can I let go of my desire for revenge and seek reconciliation and forgiveness instead, and repair relationships?
The current national reckoning for racial justice, is really about this very topic, isn’t it? It is about lavishing kindness, justice and compassion on all of my Black and Brown sisters and brothers. It is about repairing broken relationships. It is about standing up and speaking out against all forms systemic racism and White supremacy in our government and in our institutions both secular and sacred! Let us stand up with the Black Lives Matter movement and demand change; not ask for it -- demand it! Let us march, let us write letters, let us make phone calls and let us VOTE, to end systemic racism and bring about racial equality in our nation! Let us be bold enough to have challenging conversations about racism and biases with family and friends. Let us take time to look deeply into our own hearts and acknowledge our own biases and as the African American, lawyer turned activist, Verna Myers says “walk boldly towards our biases”…because then when we have named them and claimed them, only then, can we change them! And it’s WAY past time for change my sisters and brothers, way past time!