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NIV is used unless otherwise noted.

The Amazing Do-Over: Day 3

Our Lord continues:

But when the servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. “Pay back what you owe me!” he demanded. His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, “Be patient with me and I will pay you back.” But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened (Matthew 18:28-31).

The servant who had just experienced the removal of an insurmountable debt,  the restoration of his wife, children and worldly goods and averted a life sentence in debtor’s prison, is now on the other side of things.

He makes a point to find a man who owes him money, supposedly a few hundred dollars, then demands an immediate settling of the account. Just as with the wicked servant, this servant promises to repay the debt over time, something that would be possible given the sum of money at stake.

The servant who had been forgiven the massive debt refuses to have patience with-- much less pity for--the man who owed him a recoverable sum of money. He called the authorities and had the man thrown in prison until he could pay what he owed (which is, of course, impossible to do when one is in prison.)

And this is how we know how the king’s compassion touched all in the palace who witnessed it. When the servants who had seen their master’s act of overflowing and undeserved generosity to the first servant, saw this same man turn around and use his freedom, advantage and forgiven state to bully then destroy another, they “were greatly distressed.” The NASB translates it “deeply grieved.”  I think a good Southern translation would be, “I was so upset, it made me sick to my stomach.”

What did the palace servants do? They went to their master and told him everything. We know nothing about the spiritual state of either the king or the servants, but we do know that there is something in all humanity that recognizes good and evil, fairness and injustice when they see it. 

Nancy Shirah

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