We can ask for clarity of thought, which is so often missing when anger and offense are present. We should be prepared to accept criticism, legitimate or not, from any person that God sends across our path. We can learn several lessons from this parable: 1. In keeping with the customs, the king decided to sell off the servant, his family, and all his belongings in order to recoup some of his losses. "You wicked servant," he said, "I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. When we truly forgive from the heart, it is as if no offense had ever occurred. The Unforgiving Servant is a parable about forgiveness. We should be thankful to live in a more forgiving culture! If you can show that level of forgiveness, you're probably a pretty nice person. "Be patient with me," he begged, "and I will pay back everything." What the Bible says about 5. Would a Jew at the time of Peter thought 7 times was a lot or not many times to forgive someone? He grabbed him and began to choke him. In disgust, the king commanded that the first servant be … When we imprison someone in this manner, we subject ourselves to the burdensome duty of keeping him there. It is a most Christ-like character trait. Assuming that most people do not purposefully look to offend, particularly within the church, the offender was probably clumsy or foolishly inconsiderate in his approach to the offended. Or perhaps he possesses, or has displayed, a character flaw that the offended feels is completely unacceptable (e.g., a betrayal of some sort). Plagued by short-term memory problems, the servant goes out and found another servant that owed him roughly a day's wages. Watch the film here and think for yourself: Are there things that you would forgive and things that you wouldn’t forgive? When you forgive someone, you basically dismiss or release that person from all charges against you. The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant Detraditionalized Ray on the Bible > Other Articles > The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant Detraditionalized Most traditional teachings of this parable have one thing in common: they ignore or excuse away the main point and the moral of the story. If we do not, God will be justly angry and punish us. 3. "Just have patience with me and I will find a way to repay the 10,000 talents that I … God has forgiven them all. This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart (Matthew 18:32–35). We have the offender as well as the offended. By asking Jesus what the maximum number of times he was required to forgive someone was, he missed the point of grace. Did he forgive the servant that owed him a small debt? At the same time, this parable reminds us that there are serious consequences for our failing to do so. See what over 145,000 subscribers are already receiving each day. The parable of the unmerciful servant is about a servant whose master ordered him to pay back 10 000 talents of money. Whenever we are wronged, especially by a brother, we should strive to avoid becoming so inflexible that we slam shut the doors of animosity against him. Does Jesus’ answer mean you should count seventy sevens (or 490) times? All that he had would have to be sold to repay that payment. Be always mindful that our Creator received rebuke without retaliating. The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant. Forgiveness, mercy, love and peace. An issue has occurred. The Berean: Daily Verse and Comment Sign up for the Berean: Daily Verse and Comment, and have Biblical truth delivered to your inbox. Conflict between brethren can easily turn into offense, causing the spiritual life of both parties to falter. John W. Ritenbaugh Today I’ll cover The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant (Matthew 18:23-34). The Bible is packed with the promises of God. The punishment for the unforgiving servant shows God’s efforts to help the believer appreciate his forgiveness. When we do offend a brother, we are tempted to approach him and immediately ask for forgiveness because we dislike being regarded unfavorably. Forgiven, the servant walks through the palace gates, runs into a man who owes him a comparatively meager amount (a hundred denarii, equivalent to a few thousand dollars). Parable of the Unforgiving Servant; Parable of the Unforgiving Servant. The servant could not pay the money and asked his master for mercy. 21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Lesson 22: The Unmerciful Servant-Primary 7: New Testament. Join the Jesus Film Project's email newsletter to see how the story of Jesus changes everything. By comparison to the offenses we have committed against God, our brethren's offenses against us are small. The second servant asks the first for time to repay what he owes. The king doesn't reduce the debt or come up with a reasonable payment plan—he cancels the debt entirely. 6. At this, the servant fell on his knees before him. In context, Jesus has just told the Parable of the Lost Sheep which leads to a conversation about forgiveness. Instead of having two (or even more) persons confined behind the doors of an intractable grudge, we experience the joy and the freedom of reconciliation. The man then met a fellow servant who owed him a hundred denarii. These promises are incredibly important for us because they help to keep us ... You can be part of the movement that brings the greatest story of all time to everyone, everywhere, in every language. Matthew 18:21-35 – Parable of the Unforgiving Servant. Knowing Peter, he was likely looking for Jesus to give him an "atta-boy." We cannot repay our debt to God or earn our salvation. In the parable of the unforgiving servant which is found only in Matthew 18:21-35, Jesus teaches several lessons on forgiveness and how to deal with unforgiveness. 23 “For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. The king rebuked the first servant and called him wicked for being unwilling to show the same forgiveness that he had been shown. Our fallen-human nature has at its core a selfish desire for revenge, and personal retribution. Think about… Peter asks, "Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often should I forgive? The debt of the king's servant was an enormous sum. To help each child want to be more forgiving. Why was the king angry with the unforgiving servant? What is the meaning of the Parable of the Unforgiving / Unmerciful Servant? The uncharitable first servant has the second thrown into prison until the debt is repaid. By Jewish calculation, ten thousand talents would equal three times more, probably over ten million dollars. If we pressure our friend into forgiveness, have we accomplished God's will? Then the servant found out that another servant owed him a little money. Remember, our godly purpose is to restore the relationship, if possible, because that is what God wants to see. THE PARABLE OF THE UNFORGIVING SERVANT (Matthew 18:23-34) A. Grace bestowed puts the receiver under obligation to manifest the same grace to others. We can ask God to help us understand why the unfortunate deed was done and how we can find a pathway to forgiveness. (From Forerunner Commentary). The Gospels: Matthew 18 – Parable of the Unforgiving Servant It’s Hard to Forgive. If we do not forgive, God is justified in not forgiving us. The Definition of Forgiveness. The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant (Mt 18:21-35) challenges each of us to respond to the immense mercy we have received from the Father by showing that same mercy to our neighbor. Is it not odd that this man could have his fellow servant thrown into prison for a relatively small debt (as little as $20 in today's money)? The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant. And as receivers of prodigious mercy, they're to be dispensers of enormous grace. The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant 23 ‘For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. The king's other servants heard of this and told the king. God's forgiveness of humble, repentant human beings is an act of mercy and compassion that we are to emulate (Zechariah 7:9-10; I Peter 3:8; Ephesians 4:32). Up to seven times?" A man owed the king ten thousand talents. By ancient custom, a creditor could sell a debtor, with his family, into servitude for a time sufficient to pay a debt. We should be so appreciative of being forgiven that we freely forgive others. The story relates how a king, settling accounts with his servants, finds that one owed him 10,000 talents. The Bereans "received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" (Acts 17:10-11). We can learn several principles from the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant: 3. "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times" (Matthew 18:22). In the KJV, Matthew 18:22 says that Jesus told Peter to, "forgive seventy times seven." Jesus vividly captures the essence of this valuable principle in concluding the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant: "So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses" (Matthew 18:35). But he refused. The consequences of such a decision—to withhold forgiveness—particularly from a brother who sincerely asks for absolution and reconciliation, can be both devastating and eternal in scope for us. In the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant, the first servant’s debt was forgiven, and he was not required to repay until his unforgiving nature was discovered. Our sins are very great. Nevertheless, Jesus uses this amount to show that the debt—sin—was immense and humanly unpayable. The wrong mindset can lead to a sinful attitude that is in opposition to God, keeping us locked inside a bitter prison of enmity and preventing our entrance into His Kingdom. Martin G. Collins Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” We should always ask God to enable us to give our offending brother the benefit of the doubt at a time when it would be easy to doubt his loyalty. All Scripture references quote the New International Version unless otherwise noted. "Pay back what you owe me!" Parable of the Unforgiving Servant. Lessons from the Unmerciful Servant Matthew 18:23-35 Forgiveness is not natural to man. The servant fell to his knees and begged his master to have patience with him. The woman in Africa forgave her husband; we can forgive those in our lives wherever we are. Normally, the servant would be cast into prison and his family sold into slavery until all was paid. T he Lord Jesus taught His followers not just to receive forgiveness but also to show such forgiveness. The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant (also known as Ungrateful Servant, Unmerciful Servant, or Wicked Servant but not to be confused with the parable of the Two Debtors) is a parable of Jesus which appears in the Gospel of Matthew. And perhaps, only a true friend would, could, or should point out to us a weakness or fault that no one else might even see or care about. We should always be mindful that God may send us a vital message of correction or rebuke through someone other than our minister or someone we regard as having legitimate authority. When Someone You Love Has Been Hurt by the Church. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. "You wicked servant," he said, "I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. We can easily incarcerate someone within the confines of our own hearts and even throw away the key. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. This point is at the heart of the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant. The indebted servant has no assets, so his master commands all that he has to be sold, including his wife and children. This is a parable, 'The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant' is one of Jesus' parables, they were short realistic type stories that people in that time could relate to, this parable was to illustrate the necessity of forgiveness and mercy. Some translations say "up to seventy times seven." We have nothing to pay toward our indebtedness. parable of the unforgiving servant May 8, 2020 richardbarker777 The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king, who wanted to reconcile accounts with his servants. www.meetingwithchrist.com . But forgiveness is the whole basis of our opportunity for heaven. So instead of one, we now have two prisoners that keep each other imprisoned day in and day out, but only one of them has the key. Instantly, he physically assaults the guy and demands repayment for what he's owed. What the Bible says about This servant owed the king 10,000 talents—an immense and practically uncollectible amount, likely in the millions of dollars or beyond in today's value—which we might liken to the enormous and unpayable debt that we, as servants before our eternal King, have accrued. The servant throws himself on the king's mercy and receives an incredible blessing. The relationship is restored, a good witness has been made, growth has occurred, and God is glorified. What is meant by the passage, "You are to forgive 70 times 7"? A wealthy king freely forgives a servant who owes him an exorbitant amount. The heartlessness of the forgiven man—along with his utter disregard of his obligation to emulate the gracious example of his king—is sin. 4. Jesus, really wanting to drive home the importance of being forgiving (Matthew 18:21), tells the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant. Whenever we sin, even after we are converted, we come under the death penalty until we repent. Purpose. It is likely that each of us has someone confined within our own heart's prison even today. No one has ever been imprisoned in His heart! We can liken this request for the opening of our brother's heart to a request for the opening of his heart's prison doors, too easily slammed shut by an unforgiving attitude. Parable of the Unforgiving Servant After all, forgiving someone seven times for sinning against you seems like a lot, right? Here we get to the thrust of this parable. The irony here is that with some time, the second servant could actually repay his debt. Jesus probably does not intend to suggest torture but only that the servant would be imprisoned until he paid his debt. In these troubled and emotionally charged times, a true friend may feel a need to risk a special friendship for the good of the other. The accounting (Matthew 18:23). 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. Offenses committed against us are comparatively small. This daily newsletter provides a starting point for personal study, and gives valuable insight into the verses that make up the Word of God. Parable of the Unforgiving Servant, The Beatitudes, Part 5: Blessed Are the Merciful. (Matthew 18:21). Up to seven times? And sometimes that feeling is amplified by the people we're around. We must forgive from the heart, not merely in words. The King Summons the Unforgiving Servant – Judgment He States that the Unforgiving Servant is Wicked – Clear Indication that This Servant is not a Believer Recounts the Mercy the Servant Received – Explanation States that He Should Have Extended Mercy in the Same Manner – Should Have Demonstrated Fruit of the Spirit Jesus, really wanting to drive home the importance of being forgiving (Matthew 18:21), tells the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant. What does His answer mean? This parable is Jesus' response to a question Peter asked about forgiveness. THE PARABLE OF THE UNFORGIVING SERVANT _____ Matthew 18:21-35 Yves I-Bing Cheng, M.D., M.A. Discussion Questions. When we understand what we’ve been forgiven, we're not tempted to keep a spreadsheet documenting all the times we've forgiven others. Compared to our offenses against God, the offenses that our brethren commit against us are small and insignificant. The atoning blood of Christ is a very precious commodity—capable of paying for all the sins of humanity. 6:15, NRSV). But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. Then the master called the servant in. Matthew 18:32-35 The forgiven servant’s unforgiving actions led to the final scene of the story. Therefore, regardless of whether we are the offender or the offended, let us never forget our constant need to first be forgiven and reconciled with God. In the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant, Jesus is presenting a new principle that is similar to the basis of the forgiveness command for believers found in Ephesians 4:32, "And be ye kind to one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you." Christ's point, of course, is that no one could ever repay this huge amount. After a discussion about sin in the church, Peter approached Jesus with the following question, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? The same advice holds for the giver as well as the receiver of a rebuke. The late Lewis B. Smedes, a professor of theology at Fuller Seminary, is credited with saying: “To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to… For whatever reason, this servant owes the king a debt he can't repay—even if he had a thousand years to do so. When the first servant made the same request of the king, there was no way he could ever repay what was owed. Consider well the adage: “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”. Imagine his surprise at Jesus' response. Criticism is always difficult to give without offending or to receive without taking offense. This petty debtor begged for additional time to pay off the debt, but the servant, without mercy, had him jailed until all was paid. The king sees his distressed condition and has compassion on his family, forgiving him of the whole debt. The servant was told that he was to be sold; along with his wife and children. IV. "The kingdom of heaven" represents God's government, including His church, so God deals with church members as this king with his servants. Could this be a major reason why we are not as blessed as we desire to be? Prayerfully study Matthew 18:21–35; 6:12, 14–15; and Doctrine and Covenants 58:42.Then study the lesson and decide how you … At one time or another, we all feel alone. The word "torturers" or "tormentors" (KJV) probably means "keepers of the prison." Or maybe the offender disregarded the direction given in Galatians 6:1: “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted” (emphasis ours). Hearing this, the servant falls down before him in a seemingly humble and earnest manner, entreating him to have patience with him. Then another servant who owed the servant,… Preparation. Because Christ died to pay the penalty for sin, God can wipe clean the record of our spiritual indebtedness and establish a relationship with us. Jesus' Parable of the Unforgiving Servant (Matthew 18:21-35). To avoid offense, we must remember our humility and our place whenever we are inclined to point out a fault to a brother or sister. Jesus taught people using stories called ‘Parables’. 5. If a rebuke was the cause of offense, we should consider Solomon's words in Proverbs 27:5-6: “Open rebuke is better than love carefully concealed. We should abundantly forgive as our Master does. The Parable The kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. But when the servant entreated the king to have mercy on him, the king, "moved with compassion," forgave the entire debt! Please try again or contact website administrator. 2. Ultimately, receiving God's mercy and compassion is contingent upon our forgiving treatment of others. If this talent were of gold, ten thousand talents would amount to about fifty times more than the silver talent! Forgiveness is the act of pardoning an offender. 22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Jesus wants the disciples to understand how much they've been forgiven. See what over 145,000 subscribers are already receiving each day. When the first servant made the same request of the king, there was no way he could ever repay what was owed. In contrast, our sin debt was paid in full by Christ and is the only basis for God’s forgiveness. Barnes' Notes, written in the late 1800s, estimates the value at $15.8 million! The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant was a popular theme at various points in European history, evoked by writers and artists alike to symbolize religious and personal forgiveness. Jesus often said that God is merciful. Therefore, God's forgiveness of our sins is nothing less than a gift, one that rests on the foundation of the finished work of Jesus Christ. In anger, his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured until he should pay back all he owed. He could not pay so he begged for mercy – and the king cancelled the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened (Matthew 18:28–31). The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go (Matthew 18:23–27). We can ask Him to help us understand the severity of the damage we have caused and for the proper level of contrition, humility, and patience to help repair and restore the relationship. The story relates how a king, settling accounts with his servants, finds that one owed him 10,000 talents. 4. Spiritually, we owe Him far more than we could ever repay. Today, however, there is another way that a fellow-servant can be cast into prison regardless of the laws of the culture. His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, "Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.". by Martin G. Collins Forerunner, "Bible Study," December 2002. First, it is beyond our capacity to repay, and second, it is greater than any offense we have suffered—or could suffer—at the hands of others. he demanded. Jesus was a master teacher, and the Parable Of The Unforgiving Servant is just one of many amazing examples of Jesus’ powerful methods of sharing the Gospel. Then He followed up this excessive expectation of forgiveness with the following parable: Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. Even though a person receives forgiveness, it does not guarantee that he will be a better person, as this deceived world generally believes today (as seen in how ineffective leniency on murderers, rapists, and thieves is.). The master told him he did not have to pay off the debt. Then the master called the servant in. On the other hand, if we have been offended, instead of giving into the temptation to strike immediately back—to seek vindication—we should also begin by going to God in prayer for humility, empathy, and mercy. Chances are, the offender feels as pained as the offended. But he also said, in a statement that can send chills up the spine, “If you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt. In the NRSV, it only states seventy-seven times in same verse. Is there a reason for the difference in amounts? The problem with Peter's question is that he wanted to make a rule of forgiveness. According to Matthew 18:21–35 it is important to forgive others as we are forgiven by God, as illustrated by the negative example of the unforgiving servant. The Beatitudes, Part 5: Blessed Are the Merciful. Since the audience is Peter and his companions, this parable is addressed to believers; therefore, the truth is for present day relationships. In the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant, the king forgave his servant and did not make him pay back a huge debt. [] (23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. No, he tried to choke him and then threw him in prison. At this point, Jesus used a parable to teach that believers should always be … To us, and those we touch, the impact of our sins is immeasurable, but Jesus' sacrifice is greater, covering all sins. The forgiven servant then found one who owed him 100 denarii or about $15. Ten thousand talents—to the original hearers, this would have sounded like several billion dollars to us today. Or as Jesus says it elsewhere, "Freely you have received; freely give" (Matthew 10:8b). Such forgiveness is the reason we need to find and maintain the proper perspective regarding the enormous price continuously being paid—the colossal debt being forgiven—on our behalf. 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