one owed five hundred day’s wages and the other owed fifty.
Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both.
Which of them will love him more?”
Simon said in reply,
“The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven.”
He said to him, “You have judged rightly.”
The question Jesus asks is “who will love him more?” but we might also ask “why is he forgiving?”
Why is that the part we take for granted? Jesus constantly presents us with parables in which the protagonist goes against all human nature: welcoming back a profligate son, paying a full days wages to workers who only worked a few hours, giving talents to servants, forgiving their debtors.
Has overexposure caused us to ignore the marvelous incomprehensibility of the mercy of God?
Upon first reading this weekend’s lectionary readings, I was first drawn to the human actors: What causes David to repent of his transgressions? Why is the psalmist pleading for forgiveness? Why does Paul write off the law? Why is the sinful woman so physically affectionate? What does it mean to say her faith has saved her? And isn’t she the righteous one, rather than the Pharisee?
These are rich, worthy questions, but they distracted me from the main question: Why does God forgive?
If I were to be so bold as to answer, I would suggest it is because God loved us in to being and wants to maintain a relationship of mutual love with us.
We are all on journeys. Discipleship is a path, not a fixed point. We make mistakes, but ultimately God wants to welcome us back to the path.
The inquisitive child in me wants to keep on with the “why”s. Why does God love us? Why does God welcome us back? I rub my eyes and pull my hair as I agonize looking for answers.
Once in a while the constant search for sensible answers to every question exhausts me so that I relax into the beauty of truth, accepting that God forgives, despite my confusion and God’s mystery.