Translation From the Holy Gospel According to Matthew
At that time, Jesus spoke to His disciples this parable: The kingdom of heaven is likened to a king, who would take an account of his servants. And when he had begun to take the account, one was brought to him that owed him ten thousand talents: and as he had not wherewith to pay it, his lord commanded that he should be sold, and his wife and children, and all that he had, and payment be made. But that servant falling down, besought him saying: Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And the lord of that servant, being moved with pity, let him go and forgave him the debt. But when that servant was gone out, he found one of his fellow servants that owed him a hundred pence: and laying hold of him, he throttled him, saying: Pay what thou owest. And his fellow-servant falling down besought him, saying: Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not but went and cast him into prison till he paid the debt. Now his fellow servants, seeing what was done, were very much grieved; and they came and told their lord all that was done. Then his lord called him and saith to him: Thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all the debt, because thou besought me; should not thou have had compassion also on thy fellow servant, even as I had compassion on thee? And his lord being angry, delivered him to the torturers, until he paid all the debt. So also shall my heavenly Father do to you, if you forgive not every one his brother from your hearts.
A Message From St. John Chrysostom’s Homily Upon the Not Publishing the Errors of the Brethren, Nor Uttering Imprecations Upon Enemies.
It is worth hearing the very words of their prayer, and how the words are of a puerile mind; of how infantile a soul. I am ashamed in truth when about to repeat them; but it is absolutely necessary to repeat them, and to imitate that coarse tongue. What then are the words? Avenge me of my enemies, show them that I too have God (on my side). They then did not learn that we have God, not when we are indignant and angry and impatient; but when we are gentle and meek and subdued, and practise all love of wisdom. So also God said, Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in the heavens. Perceivest thou not that it is an insult to God, the making a request to God against thine enemies? And how is it an insult? One will say: “Because He Himself said, pray for your enemies; and brought in this divine law.” When therefore thou claimest that the legislator should relax his own laws; and callest upon him to legislate in opposition to himself; and supplicatest him who had forbidden thee to pray against thine enemies to hear thee praying against thine enemies; thou art not praying in doing this, nor calling upon him; but thou art insulting the lawgiver, and acting with drunken violence towards him, who is sure to give to thee the good things which result from prayer. And how is it possible to be heard when praying, tell me, when thou exasperatest him who is sure to hear? For by doing these things thou art pushing thine own salvation into a pit, and art rushing down a precipice, by striking thine enemy before the king’s eyes. For even if thou doest not this with the hands, with thy words thou strikest him, the thing which thou darest not do even in the case of thy fellow-slaves.
At least dare to do this in a ruler’s presence, and though thou hast done countless public services, thou wilt straightway surely be led away to execution. Then (I ask) in the presence of a ruler dost thou not dare to insult thine equal, but when doing this in God’s presence, tell me, dost thou not shudder, nor fear when in the time of entreaty and prayer bring so savage and turning thyself into a wild beast; and displaying greater want of feeling than he who demanded payment of the hundred pence? For that thou art more insolent than he, listen to the story itself. A certain man owed ten thousand talents to his master; then, not having (where-with) to pay, he entreated him to be long-suffering, in order that, his wife having been sold and his house and his children, he might settle his master’s claim. And the master seeing him lamenting had compassion on him, and remitted the ten thousand talents. He having gone out and found another servant owing him a hundred pence, seizing his throat demanded them with great cruelty and inhumanity. The Master having heard this threw him into the prison, and laid on him again the debt of the ten thousand talents which he had before remitted; and he paid the penalty of the cruelty shown towards his fellow-servant.
Now do thou consider in how much more unfeeling and insensible in a way thou hast acted even than he, praying against thine enemies. He did not beg his master to demand, but he himself demanded, the hundred pence; whereas thou even callest on the Master for this shameless and forbidden demand. And he seized his fellow-servant’s throat not before his lord’s eyes, but outside; while thou in the very moment of prayer, standing in the King’s presence, doest this. And if he, for doing this without either having urged his master to the demand, and after going forth, met with no forgiveness; thou, both stirring up the Master to (exacting) this forbidden payment, and doing this before his eyes, what sort of penalty will thou have to pay? tell me. But thy mind is inflamed by the memory of the enmity, and swells, and thy heart rises, and when recurring in memory to him who has caused pain, thou art unable to reduce the swelling of thy thought. But set against this inflammation the memory resulting from thine own sins committed the fear resulting from the punishment to come. Recall to memory for how many things thou art accountable to thy master, and that for all those things thou owest Him satisfaction; and this fear will surely overcome that anger; since indeed this is far more powerful than that passion. Recall the memory of hell and punishment and vengeance during the time of thy prayer; and thou wilt not be able even to receive thine enemy into thy mind. Make thy mind contrite, humble thy soul by the memory of the offences committed by thee, and wrath will not be able even to trouble thee. But the cause of all these evils is this, that we scrutinise the sins of all others with great exactitude; while we let our own pass with great remissness. Whereas we ought to do the contrary—to keep our own faults unforgotten; but never even to admit a thought of those of others. If we do this we shall both have God propitious, and shall cease cherishing immortal anger against our neighbours, and we shall never have any one as an enemy; and even if we should have at any time we shall both quickly put an end to his enmity, and should obtain speedy pardon for our own sins. For just as he who treasures up the memory of wrong against his neighbour does not permit the punishment upon his own sins to be done away; so he who is clear of anger will speedily be clear of sins also. For if we, wicked as we are and enslaved to passion, on account of the commandment of God overlook all the faults committed against us, much more will He who is a lover of mankind, and good, and free from any passion, overlook our delinquencies, rendering to us the recompense of our kindly spirit towards our neighbour in the forgiveness of our own sins: which God grant that we may attain, by the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom is the glory and the dominion, to the ages of the ages. Amen.