Objects and Instruments of God’s Mercy
Matthew 18 & Romans 12:1-2
Jesus often spoke in parables to teach about the kingdom of heaven. The parable of the unmerciful servant is found in Matthew 18:23-35:
“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. 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 it 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 outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. “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?’ 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.”
The point of the parable is straightforward. God is the King and I am the servant who owed a debt so great that I could never pay it (the debt of sin against an infinitely Holy God). But God, who is rich in mercy, forgave me that great debt and set me free. Since I have been forgiven such a great debt, I should generously forgive those who owe me (have sinned against me)!
Romans 12:1-2 instructs us in this way, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s Will is – His good, pleasing, and perfect Will.”
Remember the mercy God has shown you. You are the object of His mercy. And then extend mercy generously to others in response to the mercy that has been shown to you. Be an instrument of His mercy.
“He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)