When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, "You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?" Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. Matthew 18:31-34
You may tear out your hair in anger, but will that destroy the earth? Will it make the rocks tremble? Job 18:4
Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who traded his birthright as the firstborn son for a single meal. You know that afterward, when he wanted his father’s blessing, he was rejected. It was too late for repentance, even though he begged with bitter tears. Hebrews 12:14-17
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:31-32
Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. Ephesians 5:1-2
The Matthew 18 passage above gives us the the third and final part of the story of a king and his servant. In the first part of the story the king discovered that his servant owed him millions of dollars. The king was going to have the man sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt. However, after the man fell down before his master and begged him for mercy, the king was filled with pity, and instead released him from this judgment and forgave the debt entirely.
In the second part of the story the man left the king and went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He demanded instant payment and when his fellow servant could not pay, he had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full.
In the last part of the story the man's actions toward his fellow servant are reported to the king by other servants. The king calls him in and with great precision states the core issue, "Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?" The king then withdraws the forgiveness of the man's debt and has him thrown into prison to be tortured.
This core issue stated so clearly by the king in our story is the centerpiece of what God has in mind for the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth: "Those who have experienced God being merciful to them are to be ones who are merciful to other people."
So what happens to us when we we fail to show mercy to other people. If such behavior is left unchecked , we become imprisoned within a pattern of mercilessness and unforgiveness and we are no longer able to walk with God in the realm of the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth. The Hebrews passage above warns against a root of bitterness springing up in our lives. Perhaps the man in our story had such a root of bitterness in his life. Perhaps it is bitterness they keeps the grace of God from being in the forefront of all that we are and do. The Hebrews passage above also says, "Look after each other (small groups) so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God."
The Ephesians 4 passage above sums it all up very nicely, "Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you."
Lord, I recognize that how I approach each day and how I treat the people in my life, are a matter of choice on my part. Help me, Lord, to choose wisely. Please release me from the prison of bitteness, mercilessnes, and unforgiveness. Fill my heart with your presence and the fullness of your love and grace. Make all things new for me so that I might walk with you in the Kingdom of Heaven as a true agent of your grace.
Posted on Fri, May 8, 2015
by Alan Porter