There’s a man and he is well and truly in debt, not just a few thousand pounds, not even a couple of hundred thousand on a mortgage. Rather, he is in the red to the tune of billions. We’re talking the sort of deficit that governments ran up in the Credit Crunch and are doing again to get through COVID-19. He is summoned to see the king and throws himself on the floor begging for mercy. The king grants it. Yet when the man goes outside, he sees someone who owes him a few quid, he demands immediate payment and when the other man begs him for mercy refuses. The king hears about this and has the man thrown into prison until his debt is paid off.
Do you show mercy to others, or do you find that you are more likely to hold a grudge, refuse to forgive and expect commitments to be fulfilled without exception?
Although the focus here, as with the Lord’s prayer, is more on our forgiveness following on from us for forgiving others, the wider context of Scripture points to God showing us mercy first, just like the man in the story. And yet, if we fail to show mercy then we too will receive no mercy. Why is this? Well, I think it is to do with our grasp of the Gospel. If I have received overflowing, overwhelming grace and compassion. How can I help but do anything except show mercy too? If I am harsh and legalistic to others on the other hand, it suggests that I never really got what the Gospel was. And so, I put myself outside of grace and mercy.
- In what ways have you experienced God’s mercy in your life?
- Is there someone you need to show compassion, mercy and forgiveness to today?