My beloved spiritual brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
Our All-Loving and All-Forgiving Savior Jesus Christ speaks on the subject and says: "Therefore the Kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one who was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded THAT HE BE SOLD, WITH HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN AND ALL THAT HE HAD, AND THAT PAYMENT BE MADE. The servant, therefore, fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, AND FORGAVE HIM HIS DEBT. But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid his hands on him and took him by the throat, saying ‘Pay me what you owe!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not, but he went and threw him into prison till he should pay his debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I FORGAVE YOU ALL THAT DEBT BECAUSE YOU BEGGED ME, SHOULD YOU NOT ALSO HAVE THE SAME COMPASSION ON YOUR FELLOW SERVANT JUST AS I HAD PITY ON YOU?’ And his master was angry and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. So My heavenly Father also will do to you IF EACH OF YOU FROM HIS HEART DOES NOT FORGIVE HIS BROTHER HIS TRASPESSES." (St. Matthew 18:23-35).
"Then Peter came to Him and said, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, BUT UP TO SEVENTY TIMES SEVEN" (St. Matthew 18:21-22).
God’s message to everyone, and for all time, is quite clear, that forgiveness cannot be constrained or set limits to how often one should be forgiven. When our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speaks, God speaks! The Jews had set a limit to forgiveness to "seven times." But our Lord said, "up to seventy times seven," in other words, there is no limit to forgiveness. Our Savior and God Jesus Christ very clearly makes it known that however many times he sins and repents, forgive him. Furthermore, he emphasizes the significance and necessity for all to be compassionate, knowing how very compassionate the Almighty God is with us.
When the Orthodox Christian recites the Lord’s Prayer, he/she supplicate God and say, "And forgive our debts, as we forgive our debtors." We are all indebted to God for disobeying Him and neglecting to do His will, although we pledge that "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." We constantly break our promise to Him and yet our compassionate Creator forgives us over and over again when we sincerely repent.
We can never hope to repay back what we owe God, because the amount of debt owed to Him is too great. If God was not the loving, compassionate and forgiving God that He is, we would all end up into ‘debtors prison’ tormented for all eternity. The followers of Christ have understood this for over 2,000 years now and have come to the realization that the Lord has not given us the option not to forgive those who trespass against us but to continually forgive them from the heart. Just as the king shows mercy and severity toward the servant, so does God show love and strictness toward us depending in our willingness to forgive our brothers and sisters. God’s unconditional love is manifested in paying off the DEBT WE ACCUMULATED OVER THE YEARS BY FORGIVING OUR SINS. When the Christian forgives "FROM HIS HEART," (v.35) then true reconciliation and healing takes place.
Clearly, everyone has made enemies over the years; people who intend to slander and to hurt us. We need, however, to remember that it is inescapable. In the Person of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we see a Perfect God and a Perfect Man, and yet He had enemies who hated Him so much that they saught His death. Not just any death, but death by crucifixion. Crucifixion was the penalty for hardcore criminals, murderers and traitors of the Roman empire. If the Messiah and Redeemer of the world can have ruthless enemies who saught His destruction, why then should we ordinary human beings expect anything different?
The reality is that we will have opponents, enemies, people who dislike us, people who are angry with us, people who are envious of us, people who resent us, people who disagree with our values, and people who hate us for who we are and for what we stand for. I would venture to say that it is practically impossible to go through life and not have made enemies. However, the point is how we treat our enemies and if we are willing to forgive them and to pray for them. Jesus says, "But I say to you who hear: LOVE YOUR ENEMIES, DO GOOD TO THOSE WHO HATE YOU, BLESS THOSE WHO CURSE YOU AND PRAY FOR THOSE WHO SPITEFULLY USE YOU… LOVE YOUR ENEMIES, DO GOOD, AND LEND, HOPING FOR NOTHING IN RETURN; AND YOUR REWARD WILL BE GREAT, AND YOU WILL BE SONS OF THE MOST HIGH. FOR HE IS KIND TO THE UNTHANKFUL AND EVIL. THEREFORE BE MERCIFUL JUST AS YOUR FATHER ALSO IS MERCIFUL" (St. Luke 6:27-26).
Our Christian God is the True God and the God of Agape. His Kingdom is a Kingdom of Agape and all the Angelic Powers and heavenly citizens are beings of agape. No one can enter God’s heavenly Kingdom who is not a person of agape. The Kingdom of God is a perfect world ruled by the Heavenly Father of infinite Agape. Our Lord will not allow anyone to enter His Kingdom who is full of hate, anger, contempt, and unwiling to forgive his enemies or fellow man. There is absolutely no room for an evil man who has chosen to follow the devil rather than the God of Love. The Kingdom of God is a perfect world in every way; full of Light, beauty, joy, peace, harmony, song. It is a world filled with celestial beings that are constantly worshipping and praising the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.