Jesus often speaks of sin as a reality in which the one who sins incurs a debt against the one sinned against. Though we say, “forgive us our trespasses” in the “Our Father,” a better translation would be “forgive us our debts.” In front of God, each of us stands as a huge debtor, and the amazing thing is that God cancels this debt through Christ Jesus. Adrienne von Speyr observes, “we ought to spend our lives wiping away our guilt in the eyes of God, but God not only cancels our debt but also gives us an advance of grace in its stead, and for the rest of our lives we can draw on the surplus.” This surplus of grace invites us to find our joy in forgiving those who have sinned against us, for their debt to us is nothing compared to the debt that God has forgiven us.

—Fr. Sylvester Tan, SJ, is a newly ordained priest of the USA Central and Southern Province, currently serving as the associate pastor of Immaculate Conception Jesuit Church in New Orleans.