Today’s Gospel reading is one that gives me pause, to say the least. The whole notion of the measure that we use will be the measure that God uses to measure is more than a little a little scary. Think about it: how often do we fail to give people a break? How often do we forget that the person who just crossed us may be having trouble at home, or might be facing the illness of a loved one, or any number of things. Those mitigating circumstances may not excuse bad behavior, but they may explain a lapse in judgment. God gives us grace when we go through those things; we should do no less.
We confess our sins and long to be forgiven, just like Daniel did in today’s first reading. And our God longs to forgive us those sins. But God’s expectation is that the mercy he has shown us will be the mercy we show to others. We are called to the same perfection that is present in God himself. The crux of that perfection is love and mercy. We know what it looks like, because God has given those to us. We then need to imitate that in our lives.
If we would pray with the Psalmist today, “Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins,” then we should be willing to let go of the sins others have committed against us. It’s not easy, but the letting go frees us in much better ways than vengeance ever could.
“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”