Then the master called the servant in. “You wicked servant,” he said, “I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?” Matthew 18:32-33
Jesus tells those gathered on the hillside that life in his kingdom involves showing mercy to people who have done hurtful things. He says the mercy they are to show is a result of the incredible mercy they’ve received from God. To help his followers understand the massive size of the debt God has forgiven them, Jesus later tells a story of two men who owe debts. One owes an amount he will never be able to repay. His master, in an act of pure mercy, forgives the debt. But this forgiven debtor then refuses to forgive the very small debt owed him. The mercy and forgiveness he receives make no impact on his decision.
Extending mercy to others begins with grasping what God has done for us in the forgiveness of our sin. It’s easy to think that the wrong we’ve done is not a big deal to God. We view forgiveness as something routine and expected. But God views it differently. “[God] forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:13-14). The mercy we receive from God came at a great cost.
“Mercy in, mercy out” begins by recognizing the massive size of the debt we have been forgiven. When we do, we can then move toward forgiving those who have hurt and wronged us. When we grasp the mercy he’s given us—we can then give mercy to others.
IN YOUR CHAIR TIME TODAY
In your journal, write the following prayer (with names and situations) to help you take the first steps in showing mercy to someone who has hurt you. “God, _______________ hurt me by _______________. I’m still holding it against them. Thank you for showing me mercy because Jesus died for me. Help me to recognize that great mercy and be willing to show that mercy to _______________.”
NEW TESTAMENT READING PLAN
Join us this year as we read through the New Testament.
Today’s reading is 1 Corinthians 10.
Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.