The Unforgiving Will Not Be Forgiven
Synopses of the Parable Jesus taught about an Unforgiving Servant.
Jesus explains to Peter why it is necessary to continue forgiving those who sin against us. A parable is a physical example revealing the heavenly/spiritual Kingdom.
An earthly master/king wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began to settle a debtor owing him 10,000 talents, (1 talent is 6,000 denarii, 300 denarii being about a year’s wages) was brought to him. The amount was impossible to repay so the master ordered the man, his wife, children and all that he had to be sold.
The servant fell to the floor begging for his masters patients and promising to repay him.
The master, having mercy, released his servant, forgiving the entire debt.
On his way out, the servant found one of his fellow servants who owed him 100 denarii. He began to choke him, demanding his money immediately. The man fell to his knees, begging him to be patient and promising he would pay him back.
He refused and proceeded to have his fellow servant cast into prison until his debt was paid, (see Debtor’s Prison Wikipedia).
When their fellow servants observed this they were outraged and reported everything to their master. The master summoned the servant to return.
In his wrath the master declared, you evil (corrupt) servant, I forgave all your debt because you begged me, wasn’t it necessary for you to be merciful as I was merciful to you?
The king turned the servant over to the jailers until he paid back all that he owed.
Likewise, My Father in Heaven will do to you if each one of you do not forgive one another from the heart.
Our Father Is Merciful and His Servants Are Merciful
The Hebrew word most often translated Slave, Abad #5647, means Servant. More specifically, a Bond-servant. An indebted person could agree to be purchased and serve a six year contract, Exodus 21:2.
*(Note the Biblical patterns of 6. There were 6 days of creation, 6 days around Jericho, 6 work days, the cloud of glory covered Mt. Sinai for 6 days..The 7th day consistently promises Torah/freedom/ceasing from bondage/deliverance/salvation/victory)
Reading a translation of this Hebrew parable through a Westernized, 21st century lens should produce some questions.
Today the words Master and Servant conjure images of human-trafficking or human rights abuse. We also have no concept of a debtor’s prison but Jesus references the Outer Darkness as a metaphor describing those who are outside of His Kingdom, Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 25:30.
Jesus said, “I came to serve and not to be served.” Matthew 20:28.
Like ministers, police officers and other public servants, employees also serve/work for someone; a boss, company, customer, client or patient.
Indentured servitude was common in the late 1800’s, similar to being a Bond-servant, European immigrants agreed to work/serve at a U.S. company, for a specified time, in trade for their passage.
We Are Bond-servants of Messiah/Christ.
“…if I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Messiah,” Galatians 1:10
“You were bought with a price, you must stop being mastered by men,” 1 Corinthians 7:23
“…because you were slain and have redeemed us to God by your blood from every tribe, tongue, people and nation,” Revelation 5:9; Acts 20:28; Colossians 1:14; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.
Merciful Loving Kindness Exhibits the One We Serve
“Blessed are the Merciful, they will be given mercy.” Matthew 5:7
“But if you do not forgive all people, neither will your heavenly Father forgive you.” Matthew 6:15
“By the same judgement you pronounce, you will be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:2
“Be kind and tender-hearted, forgiving freely just as God forgave you in Messiah.” Ephesians 4:32
“Bear with one another and forgive each other, if any have a complaint against someone; just as also the Lord forgave you, so also you must forgive.” Colossians 3:13
“Be merciful just as your heavenly Father is merciful.” Luke 6:36
Forgiving One Another is a Matter of Life or Death
We choose to remain imprisoned to death, in the outer darkness, by refusing to give the same merciful loving kindness that is so freely given to us.
“… you are servants of the one you obey, whether it be sin leading to death or righteousness leading to life.” Romans 6:16
“Mercy triumphs over judgement.” James 2:13