"I canceled your entire debt when you pleaded with me." —Matthew 18:32
Unless we forgive from our hearts everyone for everything done against us, we will be handed over to the torturers (Mt 18:34). Forgiving others from our hearts means forgiving them out of the forgiveness and mercy we have received. The master questioned the unforgiving servant: "Should you not have dealt mercifully with your fellow servant, as I dealt with you?" (Mt 18:33) The Lord gives us the grace to forgive others by making us aware of how much we have been forgiven.
Do you realize that you have been forgiven an enormous debt of sin? Your sins were actually part of the reason why Jesus was tortured and crucified. By your sins, you have rebelled against the all-holy, all-loving God. Your sins are expressions of the grossest ingratitude to the God Who created, nurtured, protected, and saved you. Because you have sinned against God Himself, your sins are so serious that it is justice for you to be damned forever.
However, we need not be damned. We are forgiven. Considering our debt to God, His forgiveness of us is amazing and life-changing. After being forgiven so much, we can no longer look on God, ourselves, others, and life in the same way (see 2 Cor 5:16). We have been shocked by God's forgiveness of us into a life of thanksgiving to Him and forgiveness of others. Be shocked by forgiveness into forgiveness.
Prayer: Father, may I be shaken by Your forgiveness of my sins.
Promise: "Let our sacrifice be in Your presence today as we follow You unreservedly; for those who trust in You cannot be put to shame. And now we follow You with our whole heart, we fear You and we pray to You." —Dn 3:40-41
Praise: Patrick successfully evangelized the entire nation of Ireland, the country where he had served as a slave for years.
Reference: (For more teaching on this subject, order our leaflets, Unforgiveness Is The Cause, 14 Questions on Forgiveness, and Forgiveness and Evangelization.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, July 26, 1997
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 29, 1997