Sunday 14 September 2014

Bible Book:
Matthew

"Then his lord summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow-slave, as I had mercy on you?' And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart." (vv. 32-35)

Matthew 18:21-35 Sunday 14 September 2014


Background

Talking about forgiveness Jesus uses a parable about a slave whoboth owed, and was owed money.

The slave owed 10,000 talents (the equivalent of some hundreds ofmillions of pounds in today's money) to the king, and obviouslycould never hope to repay it. Yet the king forgave him this debtand the slave was saved from being sold with his family andpossessions.

The debt owed to the slave was aboutone hundred-thousandth of this - totally insignificant incomparison. Yet he got his fellow slave thrown in prison because hecould not repay the small amount.

Looking in from the outside, we think it ludicrous of the slave toinsist on his own debt being repaid when he had been forgiven somuch. What was he thinking of? Did he forget that he had just beenforgiven his own enormous, unpayable amount?

But Jesus is saying that we are all inthe position of this slave. We have been forgiven all our debts(meaning sins) through Jesus Christ. But do we forgive in ourturn?

The first step is realising that we have a debt to be forgiven. Weare tempted to think of ourselves as decent moral people - maybe wecommit no crimes and might even pay off our credit card bills fromtime to time.

But we all fall short of loving as we should. We exclude andbelittle each other in subtle, unconscious ways. When push comes toshove we want to put ourselves first. The human condition isinherently self-centred and this is the tragedy and the sin.

This is why we hurt each other and ourselves, despite all ourefforts. And this is what we have been forgiven. Once we realisethe enormity of the debt that has been cancelled our hearts willoverflow with forgiveness for others.


To Ponder

  • What do you owe to others?
  • How do you seek forgiveness?
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