When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt.Matthew 18:31-34
This weekend, Patrina and I met with some others in the small group we are currently leading, and part of our discussion centered on how we live out our faith in our daily routine in world that is sometimes less than friendly.
The truth is that people are watching us, especially if we claim to follow Jesus. They want to see if we are authentic or if we are nothing more than a fraud. That’s a sobering thought, don’t you think?
In the passage above we continue to read of a man whose life didn’t reflect the grace he had received. He was forgiven much more than he could ever repay, but when given the opportunity to be gracious to a man who owed him much, much less, he failed miserably because he lacked mercy.
And then we read the most dreadful words –
So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”Matthew 18:35
Yep. Jesus is saying exactly what you think he is saying. If we fail to forgive others, we will not be forgiven.
Forgiveness is a natural extension of what is called the Great Commandment –
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”Matthew 22:37-40
We love God. We love others (all others).