Freeing and Frightening

Jesus said the kingdom of God is like a king who decided to square accounts with his servants. As he got under way, one servant was brought before him who had run up a huge debt. He couldn't pay up. So the king ordered the man, his wife, his children, and all his goods, to be auctioned off at the slave market. But the man threw himself at the king's feet and begged for mercy.

The king was moved. He showed mercy to the man and erased his debt.


No sooner than the man was out of the room, he came upon one of his fellow servants that owed him chump change. Grabbing him by the throat, he demanded swift payment. The other man begged for mercy, yet was thrown in jail until the debt was paid! The king found out.

And the king was furious! He sent for the man, told him of his outrageous hypocrisy, and threw him in jail until he could pay back the entire debt.

Jesus said, "So My heavenly Father will also do to you who doesn't forgive unconditionally anyone who asks for mercy."

What we find is mercy is both freeing and frightening. Mercy is freeing in that each of us has accumulated a great spiritual debt that we cannot pay down. However, when the debt collector has arrived, we will find the debt has been paid. By trusting Jesus for salvation, we find that we no longer live with a debt weighing over our heads. We are freed! Remuneration is no longer expected!

On the other hand, mercy is frightening in that each of us must release claims that we might have on someone. If we forgive the debts of others, we cannot come back and remind them of their debt. It's been cleared. To be merciful is to say, "Any just claim I have against you - it never happened." We might lose some money, we might lose some emotional energy, we might lose some time - but we gain so much more. When we are merciful, we receive mercy!