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The Parable of the
Unmerciful Servant

The unmerciful servant is about GOD requiring us to forgive others!

The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant:

Christian teaching has not taught us well that there is a permanent link between divine forgiveness and our human willingness to forgive others.This parable is not church doctrine, rather it is a true principle which life is built around.

The one creates the other. GOD's forgiveness of our sins - demands our forgiving "those who trespass against us". Matthew 6.12

The problem is - we think we have a choice in the matter of forgiving. We don't!

The parable of the "unmerciful servant" should have us all literally "shaking in our boots" because what GOD is saying is that - forgiveness received must be passed onto others otherwise there are inherent[built-in], or automatic consequences.

The forgiveness we have received from GOD stands to be revoked...and the debt we owe to GOD re-instated!

Too many of us act one way as a "debtor" to GOD, and act another way as a "creditor" to people.  GOD doesn't buy into such hypocrisy. There are severe conditions to forgiveness. We have no choice but to learn these lessons well!

The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant:

Matthew 18.21-35 " Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”

  • My comments:
  • This is the old Jewish law. Forgive 7 times a day. After that treat as an enemy

22 “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!

  • 70 x 7 = 490 times a day - same person offends you...forgive once every 3 minutes. Now, that's tough!

23 “Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him.

24 In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars.

  • This person owed the king a lot of money. This is not "chump change" here...

25 He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt.

  • The family would be sold to the highest bidder - as a slave

26 “But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’

27 Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt.

  • The debt was completely released and forgiven!!!

28 “But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment.

  • It didn't take long for this man's real nature to show
  • He went and found someone who owed him a mere pittance compared with the debt he was forgiven of paying
  • He gets violent - physical - threatens the guy
  • He demands instant payment

29 “His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded.

  • Same deal he asked the King for. You would think the guy would wise up. But no, the sinful heart all operates the same way...

30 But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full.

  • Mr. Hypocrite actually had him thrown in jail. Now we are seeing how our lower nature works...

31 “When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened.

  • Here comes the awakening! We act one way as a debtor,[we want mercy, and grace] and the opposite as a creditor [throw the rascal in jail] - failing to understand that GOD sees and knows everything..and that all our actions will be judged..

32 Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me.

33 Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’

34 Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.

35 “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”

  • What more do I need to say?

  • The "imagination" is a whole world inside the mind...

Parables are powerful "word-pictures" that are meant to be engrafted into our mental pictures do control our thought-life.

That's where the "imagination" gets involved. The imagination allows mental exploration of the past, present, future. It is the ability to see pictures and images in the "movie theater" of the mind. The imagination is the "workshop" of the human mind. It is the only thing in the world we have complete control over. That's why GOD takes great interest of what goes on there, and judges what we allow to grow there - Genesis 6.5

The King forgives the man's debt

The man, forgiven of a million dollar debt, then finds someone who owes him a few thousand...

Threatens him and throws him in jail

Those who witnessed the man who refused to forgive the debt went to the King and told him what they saw and heard...

The King recalls the man he had forgiven - revoked the debt forgiveness and threw him into prison and issued the warning for all of us!

  • The parable of the unmerciful servant is a dire warning for those who have cheapened GOD's redeeming forgiveness through His blood on the Cross.
  • GOD's forgiveness is not just a walk to the altar. It is a life changing invitation to forgive those who offend us...
  • Are you shaking in your boots on this parable's warning? We should be very concerned.
  • Link this unmerciful servant  parable with the parable of the wise and foolish builders  which has a similar message
  • Why do you think the servant reacted to his fellow-servant the way he did?
  • The impact of this parable should be earth-shaking!
  • There is a Hebrew saying that states, "You do not have anything on a permanent basis until you first give it away to somebody else." That's the way forgiveness works.
  • How dare we pray, "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors" Matthew 6.12
  • There are conditions of forgiveness - "But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins" Matthew 6.15 This is staggering!
  • Revenge will deliver us to the "tormentors" Revenge as displayed by the unmerciful servant is totally stupid!

The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant teaches us:

It is selfishness that causes us to want GOD's forgiveness, and be unwilling to forgive others

Ephesians 4.12 "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."

The Unmerciful Servant Did Not Realize...

That forgiveness breaks the bondage. Forgiveness "releases" a person from being mentally controlled by the debt owed. Once it is forgiven, we are "set free."

Many years ago, a family member bought an expensive coat from me. It was valued at about $3,000 and I sold it to her for $800. For years, every time I saw her, or heard her name, I saw $800. She did not pay. Finally, I made a decision...

I forgave the debt to myself. This was a private decision, and I let the debt go. I decided $800 was not worth the stress and frustration. I counted it as "paid in full" and immediately was able to put it behind me. 

I did not forget it, but I was emotionally set free. It was a "non-issue" for me. No more pain, no more hoping, no more counting on the money...

Let us learn well from the unmerciful servant...

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