Today's Gospel, the origin of the infamous seven times seventy-seven quote, is all about forgiveness from God and forgiving our neighbor. And although those topics are both wonderful and deserve conversation, today I wanted to dig into something else that happens in this passage of the Gospel: a hardness of heart.
When the first servant is approached by the second, who is also unable to pay his debt, the first servant does not react with the love and compassion he was previously shown by the master. Instead, he lashes out against his fellow man and displays a true hardness of heart. Despite being shown how to forgive, the first servant has been hardened by his own life and lashes out rather than forgiving.
We praise those who have been hardened by life. We praise those who have been toughened by adversity and strengthened by cruelty. Culturally, success is put above morality and victory above kindness. But as servants of God, we are called to rise above the callousness that our world creates. There is a quiet strength and dignity that can be found in a gentle, loving spirit. That spirit, that softness, cannot be overvalued or appreciated.
Take time today to strip life's scars and callouses. Let us abstain from being hardened, bitter, and unforgiving members of this world and instead, be more open and loving to those around us. We are not called to hold grudges and debts, but to forgive. And forgiveness requires a sweet gentleness that a hardened heart simply does not possess.
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