Does God forget his mercy? After all, we plea in this 25th chapter of the psalms for Yahweh to remember. Let’s look at the two stories today to somehow draw a conclusion.
King Nebuchadnezzar had his strongest men bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and heated the furnace seven times more than usual and threw them in for they would not worship the statue erected to honor King Nebuchadnezzar’s god at the sound of the trumpet, flute, lyre, harp, psaltery, bagpipe, and all musical instruments. Azariah stood and proclaimed these words when he saw that these three Jews were not tormented by the raging fire! They sang Yahweh’s praises in the midst of their persecutors. Azariah stood in the midst of the fire and exclaimed “with contrite heart and humble spirit let us be received” (Daniel 3:39). Azariah prayed this in order that Yahweh’s name may be glorified. Yahweh never forgot his people and his people praised him, sought his mercy, and in this seeking, they glorified the one true deity in the midst of their enemies.
Matthew’s theme in his 18th chapter hones in on being great in the kingdom which requires child-like innocence, not causing others to sin, going out to seek the lost sheep, the procedure of forgiving your brother. Today, we hear how the king forgave his servant a much smaller amount which was a hundred denarii. A denarius was the normal day wage, so the difference between the two debts were enormous and this imagery is used to show the absurdity of the Christian who has been a recipient of God’s boundless mercy, yet refuses to forgive. God never forgets. God sees the way in which we forgive and God can only forgive us in the same manner.
Forgiveness is letting go of the hope of a better past. While forgiveness is a process, it is something we must constantly work on. And we must perfect in and the manner in which we perfect forgiveness is orienting our lives to the one who embodies forgiveness: Jesus. From the cross, he sings his ultimate praise to the Father as he begs pardon for humanity’s crime. Forgive because forgiveness leads to praise. And in moments when we are thrown into the white fire of life, like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, we need the gift to praise God in the midst of his enemies. How do we learn to continually foster a life of forgiveness?
Through the Sacrament of Reconciliation! Going to confession is not remembering the sins that need to be forgiven. Rather it celebrates the healing that forgives sinfulness. Confession is not meant to realize how bad we are. Rather, it is a celebration to remember as one body, how good and gracious God remains. This is a tangible way in which we foster a life in grafted in Jesus.
Make time for Confession. It’s an open invitation in which we can all cry out with the psalmist, “Remember your mercies, O Lord.” God never forgets. He is bound by his covenant to us. A covenant that can never be revoked.