In that prayer which our Lord taught His disciples, we beseech God that He "forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." Because (as the beloved disciple, St. John the Theologian, assures us), "God is love," and the very essence of love is forgiveness. If we claim to love God but refuse to forgive those who offend us, we are liars. And so we are commanded to love our enemies, and to do good to those who persecute. (And it should be mentioned, parenthetically, that it is impossible to love God and our neighbor if we do not first love ourselves, as God loves us, having created us out of love and placed within us his own image).
And so we know that we are at all times and in all places the object of God's unconditional love, but the fact is... it is simply impossible for God's grace to penetrate a heart hardened by bitterness and resentment. So how could we possibly have fellowship with an all-loving God while we set ourselves apart from a brother or sister who is, like us, created in the image of God, presuming to pass judgment upon one who shares with us the fallen human nature?
In today's Gospel, we read of a servant who owes his master an incredibly vast sum of money. When, however, he prostrates himself before his master and pleads for mercy, he is frankly forgiven the entire debt and his slate is wiped clean. So what does this wretched servant do immediately afterwards?.... He goes forth at once and demands of a fellow servant the immediate repayment of a paltry sum. Shameful, we say--and rightfully so--that having been forgiven so much by his compassionate master, he should insist that his fellow servant should be cast into jail until his debt is repaid. Surely the ungrateful servant deserves the just punishment he receives at the hands of his master. Yet all the while we ourselves so often take for granted the unconditional love and forgiveness our all-merciful God has so abundantly poured out upon us, while we stubbornly seek to justify our total failure of love towards our neighbor, all the while refusing to cast aside our petty grudges and resentments.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not die, but have eternal life," while we are unwilling to offer up upon the altar of sacrificial love, for the sake of the other, our pathetic, self-centered egos. Only when we can say with St. Paul:"it is no longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me," that the gates of Paradise are opened and we can begin to tread the straight and narrow path of salvation, putting to death within ourselves those egotistical thoughts and desires that separate us from the love of God.