Matthew 18: Jesus talks about forgiveness in the parable of the unmerciful servant. There is a servant who owes a king the equivalent of millions of dollars. The king is going to sell this servant and his family to repay this debt. The servant drops to his knees and begs the king to have mercy on him. With pity, the king pardons the man and cancels all of his debt. – Amazing!
Afterward, that same servant found one of his own servants who owed him a few dollars but showed him no mercy. He then had this servant thrown in prison for the few dollars he owed him.
I understand that the king in the parable is Jesus and we are the servant whose debt is pardoned. I know that we should also love others, forgive others, and extend mercy like we have been shown.
I recently got my feelings hurt by a friend. In my response, I thought to myself, “I don’t want to go out of my way for this person anymore. I don’t want to make an effort to be friends. Why bother when all the nice things I do are not reciprocated?” I have watched people use members of my family countless times. I decided long ago not to waste time or emotions on relationships that were going to be more parasitic than mutual.
Over time, I never considered how un-Christlike this attitude was. I just thought it was basic survival skills in the world. You know, common sense. When asked what Jesus would do in my situation, I was slowly convicted. Of course Jesus would love and pursue people forever. His driving force? Love. Mine? Selfishness.
I am the unmerciful servant. I am one who accepts the best gift in the world and then stumbles to be a good steward of that gift. Lord, I need help loving people even when I feel they dont deserve it.
Grace isn’t grace unless it is underserved
It’s like holding the door open for a stranger who doesn’t say thank you or make eye contact. I typically get a little annoyed. But if my action has roots or motivations that rely on the response of the recipient, there is a condition attached to it. And this is not love from Christ.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. –Romans 8:38
Nothing can separate us from unconditional love. I need to practice loving without conditions. I need to learn to love unkind people and those who do not call me unless they need something. Suppose loving individuals regardless of how they treat me, is the only Christ they will ever experience. In hope of opening pathways to salvation, I have decided that I will gladly suffer.
“A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.” –Proverbs 19:11