Bible Reading: Matthew 18:21-35
Matthew 5:7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
The parable of the unmerciful servant is a challenging one. It is not challenging in that it is difficult to determine the meaning, but difficult to face. When we read the parable, we like to identify as the man with the lesser debt who is mistreated, and we often do not put ourselves in the place of the man who lacks mercy. But that is precisely why this parable is so important! All of us have suffered harm because of others. They may have said or done something that hurt our feelings, or they may have attacked our character with gossip and lies. Whatever it may be, these people are hard to forgive and show mercy to. If we are not careful, we can quickly find ourselves in the same place as the unmerciful servant.
In the parable, the first servant is forgiven a debt he could not possibly have repaid, even if he had lived 1,000 years. It was a large debt that shows he had not made wise decisions and put himself in a position where there was no way out. Had the king not shown him mercy, this man’s life would have been doomed to imprisonment and death. But when mercy is given, he is set free to have life again. However, this man did not learn from the king, because with his new found freedom, he lacks mercy for others.
The message is clear: God, the King of kings, forgave us the debt of our sins through sending His Son. We could never have paid off this debt without God’s mercy. But thanks be to God that we have been set free and given a new life! We must learn from the King’s mercy, and imitate Him by showing mercy to others. We must recognize the great weight of mercy God has shown us, and let that transform your heart. Knowing we have been forgiven such a heavy price, how can we now not also show mercy to others, who have done far less than we have?
Application: When God goes about working in us and making us into His perfect, holy image, He teaches how to live like Christ. Indeed, you could say God is making us all into little-Christs in this world. That being so, we should show mercy to others. Our sins cost God’s Son His life upon the cross. It will not cost us nearly as much to forgive offenses others have done to us. Let the mercy of God take root in you, and let it set you free to forgive. When we learn the power of mercy, then we will be set free to live this new life God has blessed us with in Christ.