Forgiveness and Generosity

by David Lins  |  09/17/2023  |  (Being) Catholic Matters

Let me tell you a fictional tale…

It’s Friday night and a married couple are settling in on the couch to watch a movie. She popped popcorn for herself. He grabbed a package of Oreo cookies (his favorite).

Just then, their oldest daughter get home from band practice and sees the Oreos (her favorite, too). “Dad?” She gives him her best puppy eyes, “Ya wanna share those Oreos with me?”

He’s secretly heartbroken. Friday is his “cheat day” where he can eat whatever he wants, and he’s had his eyes on these cookies ever since Monday. He hesitates.

She persists. “Pleeeeease.”

His eyes move to his wife.

She smiles and provides no help. “Don’t look at me, sweetie.”

“Fine,” he grunts as he scoops out almost half the cookies to the daughter now sitting on the overstuffed chair. “But just because I love you.”

Just then, the youngest daughter bounds through the door after swim practice and spots what her older sister is eating. “Oreos?! Hook me up, sis!”

“No way!” responds her big sister. “These are all mine!”

Shocked, her dad grabs the Oreos back from her and says, “Wrong. They’re all mine!”

A much more violent version of this played out in a story Jesus told in Matthew 18:21-35. His point was that this is how it is with God.

He will be exceedingly forgiving and generous with us because of his love for us. And this forgiveness and generosity will be custom fit for each of us. But if we take those gifts, whatever they are, and horde them from others—rather than allowing his forgiveness and generosity to echo in the movement of our lives—it will deeply offend him.

We are God’s children and we are called to resemble him in all we do. Therefor, our lives should be filled with the forgiveness of, and generosity toward, others. There needs to be a family resemblance.