Sunday, February 16, 2014

Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

Matthew 18:21-23 - Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants."

As I was rereading this parable this morning, wouldn't you know it spoke to a situation I was in at the moment. Ugh!

Here we have a parable about a king with presumably many servants. One servant in particular owed the king a lot of money and could not repay his debt. The king was going to sell this servant and his family to regain that debt. But the servant pleaded with him not to, saying he would repay all he owed. The king had compassion on him and released him from all debt.

The parable continues: That same servant then went about looking for a fellow servant who owed him money and demanded he pay him. That man also was in the same situation where he could not repay. Instead of offering the same forgiveness as the king had given him, the first servant threw his fellow servant into prison. The other fellow servants saw this and being grieved told their master, the king.

The king called for the first man and issued this statement: You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you? Being angry the king sent him to be tortured till the debt to him was paid. In fact, Jesus made this comment regarding not forgiving: So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.

Like I said, this spoke to a situation I was in that moment. It's one of those cases where your patience with someone else's behavior is like nails on a blackboard and you just want it to go away but it doesn't. I knew my patience had been tried...and I failed miserably. This person was just being who she is.

I spent some time in prayer over how I was to ask for forgiveness. I didn't dwell on it because I knew God would show me at the right moment. He didn't fail! We had a few moments alone and I just asked for her forgiveness for being so crabby. She asked why I thought I was; she hadn't noticed! Of course I couldn't say why. So a hug later all was well. Yes, we are to ask for forgiveness even when it isn't our fault. Forgiveness begins somewhere and, after all, she "knew not what she did." The air of heaviness was lifted. And I believe since I had done my part, He is the One who lifted the heaviness, a sign of His forgiveness toward me for my sinful attitude.

Look at Jesus as this king. He has compassion on all who come directly to Him and ask for forgiveness of their sins. When anyone shows this type of humility, He will release them from their debt. The price has been paid, the sins forgiven and forgotten (by God). We have been set free: Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. (John 8:36) 

But there still is the other side to this. If we continue to harbor bitterness or unforgiveness, refusing to let it go, God will not forgive us. Like the wheat and the tares, a time will come for the plucking of the bad from the good...and the tossing of the bad into the Lake of Fire. Don't be deceived into thinking God will have mercy on everyone in the end.

When I got to church, I wept during worship, like it was for the peace I felt at having been lightened of an ugly feeling. I felt so grateful. The message then was on the times Jesus wept...for His friends (believers, like me), His people (the Church) and the world (the lost). All I wanted to do was thank Him. And as the pastor asked, Aren't tears sometimes communication when words just aren't enough? I know what he meant.

Luke 6:37 - Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

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