Why do people dislike others so much? It doesn’t take too long to hear and see the dislike, even disdain, people have for others. The Gospel has a powerful way of reminding us how we are to see other people.
One of the stories Jesus tells is of a servant who owes his master a debt he is unable to pay.
23 Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began to settle accounts, they brought to him a servant who owed him ten thousand bags of gold. (Matthew 18)
25 Because the servant didn’t have enough to pay it back, the master ordered that he should be sold, along with his wife and children and everything he had, and that the proceeds should be used as payment. 26 But the servant fell down, kneeled before him, and said, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I’ll pay you back.’ (Matthew 18)
What would you do if you were the master? Here is what the master chose to do:
27 The master had compassion on that servant, released him, and forgave the loan. (Matthew 18)
If this was you, how would you feel at that moment? Elated? Relieved? Overwhelmed with joy? All those feelings make sense. How might this cause you to treat others? With compassion too?
Unfortunately, this servant doesn’t get this.
28 “When that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him one hundred coins. He grabbed him around the throat and said, ‘Pay me back what you owe me.’
29 “Then his fellow servant fell down and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I’ll pay you back.’ 30 But he refused. Instead, he threw him into prison until he paid back his debt. (Matthew 18)
Does this seem like the proper response? He was just forgiven so much. How does he not treat others with the same compassion?
31 “When his fellow servants saw what happened, they were deeply offended. They came and told their master all that happened. 32 His master called the first servant and said, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you appealed to me. 33 Shouldn’t you also have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ 34 His master was furious and handed him over to the guard responsible for punishing prisoners, until he had paid the whole debt. (Matthew 18)
What a powerful question.
Shouldn’t you also have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?
This is the Gospel. The Gospel says while we were still sinners, enemies of God, Jesus chose to give His life for ours. He chose to pay back a debt we could never pay.
We are to see people with the same compassion Jesus showed us. We are to extend mercy, grace and forgiveness to others.
* scripture references are from Common English Bible (CEB), unless otherwise noted
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