Wednesday, May 16: Shouldn't you have had mercy?
We return to our occasional reading from beginning to end through the Gospel of Matthew, which emphasizes Jesus' divine nature and his status as the Messiah—as the Son of David, the Son of Man, and the Son of God.
Read Matthew 18:28-35
"But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. 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 it 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 outraged 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 handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
"This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart."
Talk about someone who refuses to pay it forward or even pretend to follow the Golden Rule! It's natural to think this unforgiving servant gets just what he deserves for his hard-hearted attitude and actions. It serves him right…, right? But if we're honest, have we treated someone else this same way?
As you think about ways that you've been wronged or hurt, ask God to grow in you the ability to forgive. Forgiveness not only clears the slate for the one forgiven, but it also frees the forgiver from resentfulness and from the trap of dredging up painful old memories.