Mathew 18:23-35 tells the story of a servant who begged his master’s forgiveness of a very large debt of money. His master forgave him. That same servant was owed a very small amount of money by a fellow servant and he
had him thrown in jailed until he was able to repay it. When the master found out, he was furious. Why? Because he had just been forgiven much but did not extend the same mercy to his fellow servant.
Why would the servant act that way? Many reasons but the one I am going to focus on is one word…..forgetfulness!
We remember with accuracy the wrongs done to us. But we forget with great abandon the ways we have wronged others. We judge others on their actions but we want to be judged on our intentions.
I am fitness instructor. Recently I was embarrassed in class by a member who expressed her dissatisfaction with my class… in front of the whole class. I was upset. I had been “wronged”. I was very high on my horse
ready to defend myself and point out how inappropriate she was.
Then something happened....
I remembered an email request I received from a health fair organizer asking me if I would volunteer to help. I
NEVER responded to that email. This was the second time I was asked to help. The fair came and went, I never got back to the organizer. Why? I just simply forgot!
Isn’t it like God to remind you of ways in which you have wronged people right before you start to, in the words of my granny, "act ugly" with others?
I contacted the organizer and apologized. She graciously accepted without repercussion.
I then prayed for my member and asked God for guidance.
In the very next class she apologized for her outburst and proceeded to tell me some personal things that were going on in her life that just made her go off.
I was suddenly reminded of this parable in Mathew 18:23-35. I had just been graciously been forgiven for a wrong I had done to another and here was my opportunity to extend that same mercy and forgiveness. I don’t tell
this story to toot my own horn. I tell this story because it humbles me. You never know why people act the way they do. And even if you think you do, you usually don’t. It is never about how people act, it is about how we respond.
Are we going to respond like the unmerciful servant? Or are we going to respond like the forgiving master?
Lord, let us never forget how much we have been forgiven. Show us how we can extend mercy, grace, and forgiveness to those around us. Help us break the cycle of abuse by choosing to be more like Christ...especially when we don't want to and when we feel justified in acting mean to others.Amen