Today’s Gospel examines the relationship between debt and forgiveness. Ironically, to harm another is to be in their debt, to be in need of their forgiveness. This gives the wronged person great power: he or she can choose to withhold forgiveness or to grant it.

Often, we are like Peter asking, “Do I really have to forgive this person?” We want to lord over the others, reminding them of how they have hurt us. We are resistant to giving up that power and allowing the relationship to change. To forgive from the heart means to allow for a new freedom in the relationship, a freedom to grow, no longer confined by past hurts.

Forgiving is scary. It means risking relationship yet again, allowing another opportunity for harm, yet without this risk, there would be no opportunity to love again.  Christ is the ultimate model of what it is to let go of power and forgive.

What relationships in my life are constricted by past hurts? What would it look like to risk letting go of the power of those hurts?

—Cyril Pinchak, S.J. is a first year theology student at Regis College in Toronto. He taught previously at University of Detroit High School & Academy in Detroit, MI.