Peter approached Jesus and asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times. (Matthew 18:21-22)
I am not a scholar or theologian but I do know that Jesus is telling Peter that he has to forgive always. The Gospel today tells the parable of a servant who asked his master to be patient and that he would pay off his debt. The master, cancels the entire debt, a huge debt! The servant then goes to one of his fellow servants, who owed him a small debt, to pay it off. The debtor begs for compassion but the servant who just received compassion, seized him, choked him and put him in prison until he paid the entire debt.
You can imagine what happened when the master found out how this servant treated his fellow servant after the master cancelled the debt. It was not pretty. So we ask in the “Our Father” prayer to “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Jesus taught us this prayer, we ought to listen.
I tend to forgive very easily. That is probably a very good thing that I do but my challenge is from the other side. I have hurt the person I love most with my past sin of adultery. Though it was 30 plus years ago, it is still fresh in her mind. Our relationship pretty much died when my sin became known. She has not forgiven me and though we are still together, I hurt seeing her holding onto the pain that my sin has caused. I have been yelled at, ignored and basically treated like an enemy in our home. But I still have to forgive even though the forgiveness I seek appears for naught.
The world would say that we should split and go our own ways. God says, for better or for worse…. Today it may be worse but my hope is in the Lord. I am not a good person for giving advice so I would finish tonight hoping we will all love the Lord with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves. And if that neighbor is your spouse, forgive and love.