11th Sunday of Matthew
Matt. 18: 22-35
“Do I desire to forgive those who are indebted to me?”
On the occasion of the Gospel passage about The parable of the ‘wicked servant’, I want to mention something. Even when the grace of God has worked greatly in you, when you have felt your unworthiness and your sinfulness and have sought mercy from God, it is still good for you to ask yourself: “Do I desire to forgive those who are indebted to me?” When you find yourself increasingly indebted to God and you really feel that unless God forgives you, your soul will be lost for eternity, you will see how much this helps you also to forgive others. When we desire to open our hearts and seek forgiveness from God, we must remember the unchanging precondition of this forgiveness: that we forgive others, even those closest to us. And this, not by looking down on others, as though we are great people, nor simply because we pity them, but truly forgiving them.
How often do we find people who live in the same home not speaking to one another? How often between neighbours, between acquaintances, between friends? And there are other things that happen secretly within our hearts, the things that are not revealed: hostility, resentment against another person – a person who may have no idea what we have in our heart and the things we are holding against them. If we do not change the state of our heart, we can’t expect God to forgive us.
We need to be compassionate, need to be all-loving and all-forgiving towards others, even if they are our enemies or have done the worst thing to us. And we need to do this immediately and not leave it for later. The person who has forgiveness in his heart for everyone – even for those who have hurt him – this person is truly happy. It is by this kind of whole-hearted forgiveness that a person becomes peaceful and calm, and possesses a sweetness about him. But most especially, this person senses that God has also forgiven him.
In spiritual matters whatever it is that God shows you that you should do, do it immediately. Don’t leave it for another day. You’re greatly benefited by doing this. Has the desire to pray come upon you? Go immediately and begin praying. Is it your scheduled time for prayer? Run and pray, whether you feel like it or not. Is it time for some other spiritual work? Do it, and don’t put it off.
Transcribed talks by Archimandrite Symeon Kragiopoulos
From: Holy Hesychasterion “The Nativity of Theotokos” Publications.
Translated by fr. Matthew Penney
The parable of the wicked servant