Source: Notes on Arab Orthodoxy
September 13, 2016
Jesus talked a lot about the kingdom of heaven and the first thing that He proclaimed, like John the Baptist before Him, was "repent, for the kingdom of heaven has drawn near." What is the meaning of the kingdom of God? What does it mean for God to be a king over people?
The Lord said, "The kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:21). That is, it is not in a specific place and you do not have to go far to find it. Enter into yourselves and you will find the Lord there. Jesus started to speak in parables about the kingdom and to give analogies for it.
In today's Gospel reading, the Lord told the story of a servant who owed his master ten thousand talents. He went to him pleading for mercy and his master forgave his debt. When he went away happy, he came across another servant who owed him a small amount. He pleaded with him for mercy, but he did not have mercy and instead sent him to jail to pay off the debt. When the man's master learned of this, he was angry at his servant and said to him, "Should you not have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?"
Every person is our fellow servant, and every debtor is also our fellow servant. Jesus wanted there to be no relationship of master and servant between people. "There is neither slave nor free... for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28). Of course, there are people who owe other people money or other things. Jesus wants our relations to be based not only on the law, but on mercy. By the law, one person imprisons another person. By mercy, one person forgives another.
In the Old Testament, there was the law "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" and courts undertook to apply this law. But our Master said that that there is no need for courts among you, since His disciple Paul said in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, "Seat the wretched in the Church as judges" (1 Corinthians 6:4) so that none of the faithful will go to the pagans for judgment.
God treats us how we treat people. He has mercy on us if we are merciful and He punishes us if we lord over people and oppress them. If we gossip about a person, we murder him. All gossip is murder. All revealing a person's faults is murder. He who sins separates himself from people. Don't say within yourself that he has sinned, since there is someone who will hold him to account. If you love him, he will come back to God.
Each of us needs one thing in this world: for people to love us, for at least one person to love us. If there is not one person who loves us, then we are in a state of suffocation. For this reason, you who have been wronged, who have been attacked, are the one who forgives. The one who loves who is wronged might not find anyone else in the universe who loves him other than the one who wronged him.
Why do we not forgive? Because we were not expecting to be wronged by that particular person. But we must know that each person is capable of every sin. The one from whom we expected good may disappoint us. Disappointment may come from any person, distant or close. We must understand that the people dearest to us may sin. Only ask that the Lord love them and ask for healing for them, that they may return, not to you but to their Lord.
If we are merciful in this way, then people will remain at peace. People live in peace if they are with their Lord, if others love them.