"Then Peter approaching asked him, 'Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?' Jesus answered, 'I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times. That is why the kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants…His master summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?' Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart." (1)

Strike The Stone

O Lord, my heart's a stony grudge:
Hardened by hurt and justice lost;
Sealed with an unforgiving sludge;
I may be right -- but at what cost?

The failure to forgive is sin:
It blocks the flow of Mercy's grace;
When I clench my hurt pride within,
I flee from the Father's embrace.

To the merciful, Mercy's shown.
The Father's heart yearns to forgive:
His Son's own blood -- the cost is known;
My heart is clenched -- how can He give?

Without mercy, all hope will fade.
My wound, infected with my grief,
Festers suspicion and charade.
I hang -- the unrepentant thief.

Lord, strike the stone of my hard heart:
Mercy can flow if I forgive;
Hope will emerge with a fresh start,
And the repentant thief will live!

1. Matthew 18:21-23,32-35

(c) Paul Buis, 2002