Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – September 26, 2020
For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. Matthew 18:23 (NRSV)
Like many of Jesus’ parables, the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant is remarkable in its simplicity and brevity, yet also in its wisdom and truth. The story is simple enough to understand, there is a King who oversees servants who owe him a debt. In particular, one servant is said to have a debt of 10,000 talents, roughly the equivalent of 60 million denarii. With a single denarius serving as the common daily wage for a servant, this number is in every way extravagant and impossible to repay! It is a debt that would take countless lifetimes to repay. And yet, this deeply indebted servant ruthlessly demands his fellow servant repay the debt owed to him, a debt 600,000 times less than the one owed to the king!
Less there be any confusion, in this story, God is king and we are servants! As such, humanity has a debt owed to God that can never be quantified or counted. “God have mercy on me, a sinner” is the lifelong prayer of every follower of Jesus, one that is never outgrown or left behind. In light of this, if you find yourself unable to forgive your brother or sister in Christ, might it be that you’ve lost sight of the daily mercies shown to you by Almighty God?
In a culture saturated with messages of self-help and personal greatness, we run a daily risk of underestimating our capacity for evil and need for forgiveness. In light of this, I think of a line from the great Russian artist and writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, “The line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either – but right through every human heart.”
Mindfulness of our brokenness and the depths of our own forgiveness frees us to extend mercy to all, even those who do not deserve it. Jesus looks on you and me in our weakness and sickness and has incredible compassion and love. As it says in Hebrews 8:12, “I will be merciful toward their iniquities.” In light of this, how can we not be merciful towards the shortcomings of others, hard as it surely may be?
It is remarkably easy to identify and call out someone’s failures and shortcomings. What requires supernatural strength is the ability to be painfully and personally acquainted with someone’s deepest faults and failures, and because of the mercy of God shown to you, choose with joy to love them and extend mercy to them. May God help us to be merciful, just as we have received great mercy.
Father, thank you for the mercy you have shown to us. May it animate and inspire our ability to love others as we have been loved, we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Are you merciful towards the shortcomings of others?
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Mindfulness of our brokenness and the depths of our own forgiveness frees us to extend mercy to all, even those who do not deserve it. #mercy #WisdomHunters #truth #Jesus
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