First Reading: Dan 3:2. 11-20; Psalm: 25. R. v. 6a; Gospel: Mt 18:21-35
THE PRISON OF UNFORGIVENESS
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
“to forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” (Lewes B Smedes)
The gospel parable of today reported on a servant who owed a king ten thousand talents. But because he could not pay, he pleaded with the king for more time. Instead of granting his wish, the king decided to cancel his debt and set him free. But what this servant did thereafter surprised the king. This servant couldn’t forgive his fellow servant who owed him a hundred denarii; an amount so little compared to what he owed the king. Because of this, the king reversed his decision and jailed him until he pays what he owes.
The decision of the king to jail the unkind servant reveals what unforgiveness does to us. Recall that the unkind servant was jailed to suffer the torture of imprisonment pending on when he pays what he was owing. So when we fail to forgive others their offences against us, we will suffer the torture of pain and resentment. The bitterness within us will continue to hurt us until we let go. Jesus said in this parable that the only way we can be free from this imprisonment is by paying all our debt. And this debt is the hurt we carry within us due to our refusal to forgive the offence of others.
When we hold unto anger and hurt due to unforgiveness, we go through a lot of torture. We end up causing ourselves more pain that could have been avoided. Just as sin brings guilt; unforgiveness causes hurt. And there is no better way to free ourselves than to let go of the hurt we harbour within us by forgiving our offenders. Although forgiveness can be a very difficult decision to make but it makes us feel better and healthy. We can set ourselves free today from the imprisonment of unforgiveness if we so decide. Don’t be the prisoner of your own self.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Lord Jesus, grant us the grace of forgiveness. Amen.