15th Sunday after Pentecost | Read Matthew 18:23–35
At the core of this lesson series, I wanted to share what the scriptures teach us about fighting well because our faith comes with an array of expectations. The Bible has both the things that we must do, for example: Love God above all else, love your neighbor as yourself, feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the poor, care for the sick, visit the prisoner, pray constantly, study the scripture, welcome the immigrant, care for widow and orphans, be quick to forgive, and slow to anger. It also has the things that we should NOT do. For example, we should NOT hold a grudge, NOT seek revenge or get even, NOT lie or worship false idols, and we must NOT seek rewards for doing what is expected of us, etc.
As disciples of Jesus, we ought to reflect, reproduce, imitate, reveal what happens in the kingdom of God… here on planet earth, right now (See, Matthew 6:10) that we must reveal Christ in our interactions with those around us and especially in our homes. That we as Christians must epitomize “represent” Jesus on earth, especially in our daily affairs with those who are indebted to us… We must behave like we just come from a one-to-one meeting, an encounter with our savior, a living God, and that we were just reminded that the Lord, our King has the power to give and the ability to take away what was previously given.
I am aware that the scripture that we read says nowhere “Compassion” the word that is used in verse 27 is “pity.” but trust me when I say that another meaning is possible here… the verb is splagchnizomai which you can find by googling, Greek Strong G-4697… which talks about something that you feel in your guy, not in your mind or your heart.
After such a miraculous encounter with the King, this servant, newly debt-free, goes out to do what. Does he go and celebrate the mercy of the King. The fact that he or his family was not sold into slavery like it was customary. Does he go and celebrate with his family, wife, and children that they can remain together? – Sadly, no. He doesn’t. What does he do? The servant goes out to finds another servant. Another servant who owed him money, rather than doing something better, life-giving with his time.
This wicked servant was the kind of person who abuses whatever little power or position is given to bully others. So when the payment was not INSTANT, the wicked servant throws his fellow servant in jail, thus making it impossible for the debt to be paid.
The thing to do is recognize that we all have an exorbitant amount of debt with our King and Lord. There is nothing you or I can do to pay it by your ability or strength. However, the King has called us to reconcile our debt rather than send us into an eternity in hell. God our kind has decided to offer his only begotten son, for those who believe him may not perish but have eternal life.
What we need to do, is to approach the King, our God, with confidence and to be humble and accept his mercy. However, what is expected of us is to pay that mercy and compassion forward it.
People of God, we have had the opportunity to meet the King, and the King has said, your little “S” sins, but especially your big “S” sin is forgiven… knowing fully well that the expectation is that we (Who recognize God as our King) will show mercy to our debtors because the King has shown compassion to us first... of if you prefer, go and show mercy to those who have trespassed against you, because God has shown compassion when you have trespassed against God.
Now this matters, in the subject of fighting with family… because we all have family that owes us something. We all have something to hold against someone else in our families. God is telling you that you not only have to forgive them as a way to deal with your anger, but you must exercise compassion and mercy because you have received such compassion and mercy already from God.
May you not simply accept the forgiveness, compassion, and mercy of God but may you take the time to share the good news of the forgiveness of our sins and sin with our families first and then with everyone else. To God be the glory. Amen.