The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

While reading a fellow blogger’s post, I was struck with a thought:

Its ironic that when we are “doing right”, we demand justice be served. But when we are on the erring side, don’t we so often wish that we receive compassion instead of the consequences? That although undeserving, we were forgiven and saved by grace; But how is it that some of us deny to our brothers the very same grace that was lavished on us?

Meditating on this lead me to one of the parables taught by Jesus Christ.

The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. 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.

The servant fell on his knees before him. “Be patient with me,” he begged, “and I will pay back everything.” The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denari. He grabbed him and began to choke him. “Pay back what you owe me,” he demanded.

His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, “Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.”

But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.

Then the master called the servant in. “You wicked servant,” he said. “I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?” In anger his master turned him over to the jailers until he should pay back all he owed.

This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.

— Matthew 18:23-35


Lord, may it be far from me that I act like the unmerciful servant. When I see my co-servant’s faults and imperfections, remind me that what I see in them is just a tiny speck compared to the imperfections and ugly things I hide inside, but never hidden from your sight. Remind me that, you see the depths of my heart and all of its contents, yet you love me the same.

Guard my heart that I don’t fall into the temptation to “look down” on my erring brother or sister, no matter how tempting it is to feast on their shortcomings. Work in me and work through me, that when I see their imperfections, I respond in love and grace. Even though– and especially if — that person is one who offended me, and has once judged me wrongly. And should that happen, I relinquish any of my rights to claim vengeance, vindication or justice–no matter how sweet the revenge seems to be. You are my rock, and you are my vindicator. You will vindicate.

Always remind me of your grace, so I can deal with my fellow servants the way you expect a forgiven sinner like me should treat another forgiven sinner — with love and grace.


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