May 19 - Unmerciful Servant

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Matthew 18:21-35

This passage begins with Peter asking Jesus how many times he should forgive someone who sinned against him.  Peter thought that maybe seven times would be enough.  Jesus made the number much bigger and said he should forgive seventy-seven times.  Then Jesus began the story of a king and his servants. It was time to settle accounts.  One man, who owed ten thousand bags of gold came before the king and pleaded for mercy and for additional time to repay the debt. The king canceled the debt completely.

To celebrate this, the servant went looking for a fellow worker who owed him a hundred coins, threatening to kill him unless he paid what was owed. This fellow pleaded for mercy and time, but rather than forgiving what had just been forgiven him, the original servant had the other thrown into debtor’s prison.

Well, that news didn't take long to get back to the king, who called in the original servant and after scolding him, sent him to jail until the original debt could be repaid.

Jesus then said, “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

We have a lot of trouble with balance in our lives. There really isn't much worse than a former smoker or a recovering alcoholic, a person who has lost a great deal of weight or someone who has come through a great personal crisis. In light of their incredible new life, they completely forget the patience with which the world lived with them and seem to believe it is up to them to change everyone they encounter … without much grace.

Christians who came from horrendous lives prior to their moment of conversion are sometimes the worst, exacting judgment on all those with whom they used to know well.  It is easy to forget the grace and mercy that brought each of us to the point we are living right now … the gift of life we have been given as we are transformed.

Extend grace to all, forgive those who have harmed you or even moreso whom have done nothing against you, but have done something you don’t approve of … forgive.

Because if you withhold forgiveness, there is no reason to believe you will ever receive it.