Of all the parables that Jesus told, my favorite (and the one I struggle with the most) is that of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18. For the next few days I’m going through that parable. Why? a few reasons really:
- I struggle greatly with being unmerciful and it manifests itself in many ways in my life.
- I see MANY people around me that don’t understand grace either and try to play God in the lives of others.
- It torments me that Christ’s church (myself very much so included) is not as generous with God’s stuff as we should be (often times we have no generosity).
- It slaughters any reason to be bitter and unforgiving.
- It clearly presents the Gospel and the improper response to it while teaching the proper response.
- And, it supports the theme of two great books: Crazy Love by Francis Chan and The Prodigal God by Tim Keller
Will you join me in studying this parable? It could take some time, but it will be worth it. I’ll get you started (Matthew 18.21-35):
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.
Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master what had taken place.
Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should you not have mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you? And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”