Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

My scripture reflection is from Matthew 18:21-19:1 but before I share my thoughts, I wanted to give a few tidbits of information that might help to bring a better understanding to the depth of God’s Mercy in this Scripture passage.

  1. Today’s median annual salary among the nation’s 106.6 million workers is now about $40,560, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  2. According to Lawrence Martone of “The Journey” Daily Meditations website, “ten thousand talents,” the equivalent in terms of daily wages is more than 2,739 years of labor.
  3. Doing the math, $40,560 annual salary x 2,739 years of labor comes to a grand total of $111,093,840.

Keeping those tidbits in mind, today’s passage is the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant. A servant has a great debt and in the original Greek language, the passage says the debt is “ten thousand talents. The master tells him to basically pay up or else and the servant begs for the master to be patient and he will pay it back. We know that the Master represents God. The passage says…

“Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan.”

Using the above information by today’s standards, that would be quite generous and basically a loan that would be impossible to pay off. Jesus loves us so much that by His own blood, He forgives us our debt.

Now the servant who was forgiven goes out to collect a debt from one of his servants who owed him a much smaller debt. He starts choking and demanding that his servant pay off the debt. When he is asked for mercy, the same type of mercy he received…

“he refused. Instead, he had the fellow servant put in prison until he paid back the debt.”

We know God would not be happy with the servant He forgave and Scripture tells us…

“Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.”

This is such a beautiful reminder of God’s love, His mercy and forgiveness but it is also a reminder to respond with love, mercy and forgiveness with each other. The consequences of not loving and showing mercy and forgiveness might cause us great pain and suffering in the long run.  Often times, it is easy for me to blow through the Our Father prayer that Jesus taught us. But tonight I remember what I ask the Father for when I say, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world. Amen.

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Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

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