The Value of Mercy // The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
MERCY. I love how Jesus defines this word with a story. A master lets a man, who owed him a great amount, go free. The man falls to his knees and finds that his master’s response to his plea is one filled with mercy. The man then turns around and shows no compassion or forgiveness to his own servant. The Message translation puts it this way;
“The servant was no sooner out of the room when he came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him ten dollars. He seized him by the throat and demanded, ‘Pay up. Now!’ (Matthew 18:28)
It’s easy to see the first side of that man in myself—a person who finds himself begging for the forgiveness of the Father in times of pride and sin. I’ve felt the same relief this man must have felt, the same warmth he must have recognized when his master had mercy on him by showing him forgiveness.
Yet, that other side of the man, the one we see as disgusting and graceless and wrong—I see that side in myself too. The Message translation reveals the fast response the man had—he was “no sooner out of the room”. I find that when I’m moving and thinking and acting too quickly, I don’t give the people around me mercy. When I’m too self-focused or just not moving through my days at a healthy rhythm (this happens when my time with Jesus is lacking and my Sabbath is non-existent), I'm quick to judge or find offense, quick to leave no room for grace or mercy. In these moments, I'm not loving others like God does. I’m not pointing others to the mercy found in Him. I look nothing like Jesus. This parable challenges me to slow down and to recognize the eternal value in giving mercy to those around me.
Today, let’s ask God to give us eyes to see people around us the same way He sees them. Let’s ask God to give us the ability to show mercy, compassion, and forgiveness to those around us, the same way Christ has shown mercy on us.