Matthew 18:21-35 — a story on the imperative of forgiveness
The evil servant (aka, Servant A) found himself condemned and judged by his own words:
- “You better pay me all!”
- “No compassion or mercy for you — off to prison until you pay me all!”
Tough guy. Right after he hadn’t been so tough.
He asked for patience, for time to pay all. He received mercy as well as forgiveness of all. But I don’t recall thinking about this in verse 32 til this morning: He had actually desired to be forgiven all that debt. Thus, his master responded to more than just his words; he responded to the unspoken desire of his heart. I need much sharper sensitivity and discernment in my relationships with those who wrong me!
The “magical” words that worked for Servant A did not work on Servant A. When he uttered them to his master, his master forgave him. Alas, when his fellow servant uttered them to him, he refused to forgive his fellow servant.
Forgiveness in human relationships is both seed and fruit in my relationship with God. Here’s what I mean that shows the imperative of forgiveness:
- Seed: Jesus said when I forgive others, I will be forgiven.
- Fruit: God also says I should forgive others because He has forgiven me.