I am thinking and praying about forgiveness this week. The text providing the backdrop is one I have always struggled with…
This is the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant. It deals with God forgiving us such a large debt and us not being willing to forgive the debts/sins of people in our lives.
In the parable a king’s servant amasses a debt of 10,000 Talents (a debt that the servant could not even hope to repay even though he says he will). The king threatens to sell him and his family into slavery but after some pleading for time, the king forgives the debt.
Wow! That is grace!
Immediately after the immensely gracious act, the servant finds a buddy of his who owes him a few dollars. When the buddy can’t repay, the servant throws him into prison until he can repay the debt. The king then gets word of this ungracious act; becomes angry; restores the previously forgiven debt and hands the unmerciful servant over to the jailer to be tortured until he can repay (which he won’t be able to).
Jesus then ends this teaching with “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”
I can understand this response from God. I mean, after all, who are we to think that people hurt us more than we hurt God. Who are we to think that our debt to God is insignificant and not important. True ~ if God forgives such a large debt that we have incurred through sin, then we ought to forgive one another. But how does one preach such a message ~ without attempting to tip toe around God’s Word in an effort to avoid offending people.
The other interesting tid bit in all of this is that Sunday is the 10th anniversary of 9/11 (like you didn’t know that). I didn’t choose this text but rather it is the one “assigned” in the lectionary. Does preaching this message of forgiveness sound insensitive on the anniversary of such a tragic event? What preaching points would you use?
Just throwing some thoughts and questions out there for consideration.