When the boss calls you into his office and angrily details all you have not done and should be doing, you might make excuses but then desperately beg for another chance to do the work because you are the sole provider for your family. Right?
So, the boss settles down and shows you mercy. You work out a plan of improvement. You leave the boss’s office and sit at your desk pondering what just happened while anger builds. A few minutes later one of the people working under your supervision comes into your office. This person merely asks a question about a problem that needs solving and you plow into this person with words of anger followed by shouting, “Figure it out yourself!”
At the end of the work day you drive home. The traffic is bad so you let people in other cars know that you are the only one who really knows how to drive, showing no mercy with shouts and hand signals.
What do you do when you go home to your family? You are not in a good mood to say the least for you have been humbled by the boss who has shown you mercy and wants you do your job well. However, you are irrational and unteachable at this moment in time because you only remember the reprimand and not the mercy.
Your family greets you with smiles, wanting to tell you about their day and you tell them to go away. Or they come to you for help with a problem and you humble them like you were humbled. “Why can’t you just do it yourself?”, you shout. You forget you were shown mercy and got to keep your job! Have mercy!
Most of us do not like to be humbled because of the sin of selfishness that lays in wait to take us down emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Because of this inner selfishness that defies criticism, we become unmerciful, unkind, unresponsive to others around us followed by unforgiveness.
Let’s recap: The boss forgave the worker. The worker accepted his mercy and forgiveness, but he did not extend forgiveness and mercy to others who later came to him.
Has this ever happened to you?
How did you react?
What were your responses?
Jesus tells an even better story that explains the cycle of forgiveness that begins with our merciful Master Jesus Christ who forgave us. He expects the same forgiveness from us to others. No excuses. Show mercy at all times.
The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.
29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’
30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.
32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
Forgive as we are forgiven. If we don’t, our debt of sin comes back to us marked “unpaid”. We have no chance of paying it back for who can save us, pay for all our sins, but Jesus?
Forgive as Jesus forgave us, driven by love, mercy and grace.
Oh Lord and Savior,
Your teaching is clear and understandable. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not to temptations to hold grudges and hang on to hurtful words but to forgive completely so that all debts are paid in full. We may remember the hurt but the hurt will no longer hold us captive when we forgive with love, mercy and grace. And forgive…
In Jesus Name, Amen.