Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Matthew 18:23-35


23 ``For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24 ``When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents[about 12 million dollars] was brought to him. 25 ``But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. 26 ``So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, `Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.' 27 ``And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt . 28 ``But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii [about 12 dollars] ; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, `Pay back what you owe.' 29 ``So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, `Have patience with me and I will repay you.' 30 ``But he was unwilling, and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed.

31 ``So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened. 32 ``Then summoning him, his lord said to him, `You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 `Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?' 34 ``And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. 35 ``My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.''

Jesus told the story of the servant forgiven a great debt who went out and dealt mercilessly with a fellow-servant who owed him a debt that was an infinitesimal fraction of what he himself had owed. And, for this lack of mercy he was utterly condemned. This parable teaches certain lessons which Jesus never tired of teaching.

2. The contrast between the debts is staggering and compares with our relationship with God. If God has forgiven us the debt we owe to him, we must forgive our fellow-men the debts they owe to us. Nothing that we have to forgive can even remotely compare with what we have been forgiven.

We have been forgiven a debt which is beyond all paying-for the sin of man brought about the death of God's own Son-and, if that is so, we must forgive others as God has forgiven us or we can hope to find no mercy.

The essence of it all is your gratefulness to the Lord and in that spirit of gratefulness you will treat others well.