October 12, 2010

A New Way!

Matthew 18:21-35

As God’s chosen people … forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Colossians 3:12-13


The rules of the game were clear: if you got a loan, you paid it back at the promised time. In Jesus’ story, a servant owed his king a large sum of money, but he couldn’t pay it back at the appointed time.

So the servant pleaded, “Be patient with me … and I will pay back everything.” He didn’t argue about the amount. He simply asked for more time.

Now, to continue playing this game, the king could either give the servant more time or sell the servant for whatever he could get. But he knew that the servant would never be able to pay him back, and the second option was extremely harsh.

So the king decided to do things a new way. He forgave the debt and allowed the servant to go free!

The servant then met someone who owed him a small amount of money. But when the other man pleaded for more time to pay it back, the servant refused and sent the man to prison.

When the king heard about this, he was furious. “I started a new thing by showing you forgiveness,” he said, in effect, “but you insisted on punishing another person for the same thing. So have it your way! Off you go to jail!”

Has God forgiven us? Can we forgive others? Forgiveness is a new way of life and love, a gift we can give to everyone.

Gracious God, thank you for the undeserved gift of forgiveness. Help us to follow your example and pass this gift along to others. Amen.

About the author — Harvey Stob

Rev. Harvey Stob and his wife, Audrey, served as missionaries in Argentina for eleven years. They then served churches in Cincinnati, Ohio; Ridgewood, New Jersey; and Ann Arbor, Michigan. Harvey retired from full-time pastoral work in 2009. He and Audrey have three children and seven grandchildren.

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