December 11 I Wednesday
“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?’” —Matthew 18:21
There once was a king who wanted to settle his account with different people. He called for a servant who owed him money saying, “You owe me $7,000,000, what are you going to do to pay it? The servant responded, “I don’t have the resources to pay the debt.” The king then threatened, “I will sell you, your family and your possessions until every last penny is paid.” At this point, the servant begs the king, “Please don’t do that. Be patient with me, I will pay you back.” The king looked at the servant with pity and declared, “Your debt is forgiven.”
Overjoyed, the servant left the king’s presence, excited to tell the news to his family. On his way home, he saw a fellow servant who owed him money. He called out to him, “You owe me a dollar” and the man answered, “Yes, I know.” The servant cried, “Pay back what you owe me” but the man pleads, “I don’t have money now. Please be patient with me and I will pay you back.” But the servant refused and threw the man in jail until he could pay him back.
Word of what the servant did spread to the king and the king ordered for the servant to return to the palace. The king said, “Did I not cancel your debt of $7,000,000? How could you turn to your own fellow servant and demand for him to pay you back the dollar he owes? You wicked servant, you should have had
mercy on your fellow servant as I did with you. Now, it is too late, I am throwing you in jail until you pay me back every last penny.”
This was a parable that Jesus told about the kingdom of heaven and forgiveness. The servant had his debt forgiven but the forgiveness of that debt did not change the disposition of his heart so the grace that flowed to him did not flow through him. Jesus concluded the parable with a frightening line, “This is how My heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart” (Matthew 18:35). What does that mean? If we are not forgiving of others, we will close off the forgiveness of God to us.
As we examine our own heart, we all want to be recipients of what God wants to give and do for us but are we willing to do, be and give to others? This could be the source of blockage of our spiritual life for many of us. Who do we need to forgive today?
Prayer: Merciful Father, thank You for forgiving my debt and teaching me to be merciful with others. Help me to offer mercy, grace and love to those around me without holding back.