September 13, 2020 

Matthew 18:23-35 … “And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” vss. 34-35

The parable of the unforgiving servant hits us squarely in the middle of our righteous indignation! The point is so clear. This rascal of a man had been forgiven a great debt and then refused to do the same for a fellow servant who owed him a pittance. The injustice is obvious and we totally agree with his lord’s reaction! Painful punishment is what all unforgiving people deserve. In fact, after finishing the story, Jesus says exactly that. He warns his disciples that God will also torture every one of them if they do not sincerely forgive. At first we’re inclined to agree with Jesus–but then we wonder. Did he really mean to say that if we don’t forgive others we’re going to be tortured by God? We get the parable–we applaud the torturing of the flagrantly unjust. But does Jesus really think we ordinary folks deserve the same? Whatever happened to unconditional grace? In reality Jesus is hammering home a point about the importance of forgiveness. Nothing is more important for his followers. And if we don’t do it, we’re going to be tortured! We will never know peace or serenity if we cling to revenge and hurt in our relationships.

Forgive and we will be forgiven–it’s a natural part of graceful living!

Thought for the Day: How have I been tortured by an unforgiving attitude?