Tuesday 30th May 2017 - Daily Reading:
Matthew 18:21-35 - Mercy by Karen Cowling

We have a merciful God who is slow to anger and rich in love. A God who when we call out to him, and have faith in his son Jesus, he shows us his mercy and does not condemn us for our sins like he should. It is important to remember that God is a just God, he will at the end of time as we know it, punish the sin that is in the world. However he loves his creation and has provided us a way out of this punishment. The provision is Jesus.

Again, like we should pass grace on to those around us, we should show mercy to those around us, in the same measure that God shows mercy to us. In Matthew 18:21-35 Jesus tells us a parable that shows us exactly this. Peter asks Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother who sins against him. Peter doesn't even ask in line with Mosaic law! The law says to forgive 3 times, and here Peter raises it to 7 times! He must have thought that Jesus would be impressed! But Jesus raises the bar even further. He says seventy times seven, though this should not be taken as a literal 490 but as a metaphor for unending forgiveness.

In the parable the servant owes his master a substantial amount, an amount that he could never honestly pay him back. The servant begs for mercy, saying he will pay it back if the master gives him time. The master has pity on him, he doesn’t just give him time but cancels the debt. However the servant has not grasped the mercy he has just been shown. He then goes out and finds someone, who in comparison to his own debt, owes next to nothing to the servant. He has him thrown into a debtor’s prison to work off the debt he owes. The servant’s co-workers tell their master what has happened. In the final three verses Jesus has some strong words for this: ‘Then the master called the servant in. “you wicked servant,” he said, “I cancelled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had mercy on you?” In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.’

Showing forgiveness and mercy to those who have hurt us or wronged us is incredibly difficult, and in some situations humanly impossible. This is where we need to cry out to God, we need to ask him to provide us with the mercy to be able to have mercy towards others. With God all is possible, even forgiving what we see as unforgiveable.

next devotional >>