The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

Matthew 18:21-35 (NIV)

21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.[a]

23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.

24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold[a] was brought to him.

25 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.

26 “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.

28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.[c] He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’

30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.

31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to.

33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’

34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

Five Ways to Show Mercy

1. Have mercy on ourselves. When we make a mistake, we regret it. Our self-esteem shrivels and we feel bad. Sometimes we keep flogging ourselves for our wrongdoing. Dwelling on it casts a black cloud over our days and can even make us ill. Mercy relieves suffering. The Christian thing to do is to forgive ourselves and forget it. As song in the movie Frozen urges, “Let it go!” After all, God forgives us. We can also be merciful to ourselves by not being over-demanding. When faced with a decision like whether to take a day off, indulge in a snack, or go to a movie, we might imagine that a friend is in our position: What would we advise him or her?

2. Stop habits that annoy others. I suppose it’s only human to do things that irk others, especially those with whom we live. Maybe we crack our knuckles, leave dishes in the sink, or drive too fast. These habits raise others’ blood pressure or at least make them uncomfortable. We can have mercy on them by changing our ways, if it’s only when we’re in their presence!

3. Avoid saying “I told you so.” We disagree on many occasions. We might say that the party is on Friday, and another person might insist that it is on Saturday. When there’s been a disagreement and we’ve been proved right, it’s tempting to say “I told you so” and gloat. Likewise, we might predict that something will happen if the other person acts in a certain way. (How often parents say things like, “Stop running. Someone’s going to get hurt” and then someone is.) The other person is unhappy to be wrong to begin with, so rubbing it in is like putting salt in their wounds.

4. Offer help. When someone is in a pickle or is need of a helping hand, it’s an act of mercy to assist them. Recall how grateful you were when someone changed a flat tire for you or gave you advice for a project you had undertaken. It’s an act of mercy to take time to help someone even if you get nothing in return except the warm feeling that comes from doing a kind deed.

5. Don’t bring up old failings. When someone has done something wrong, avoid reminding him or her of it over and over. All but one of the apostles deserted Jesus when he was arrested, but when he appeared to them as the risen Lord, he didn’t bring this up. He just said, “Peace,” even to Peter.

Can you add other ways we can be merciful just as our Father has been merciful to us?

By Mary Kathleen Glavich, SND, Chardon, Ohio

I’m a Sister of Notre Dame, of Chardon, Ohio, the author of eighty-plus books on religious education and spirituality, including a novel, “The Fisherman’s Wife: The Gospel According to St. Peter’s Spouse.” I enjoy giving talks and retreats and was a pastoral associate at St. Dominic Church. I also edit and self-publish books for others.

Mary’s Contact Information: Email: – Work Phone: 216-381-910

Scripures about mercy

Exodus 15:13—Mercy leads

Psalm 31:7—Mercy takes time to understand

Psalm 86:5—Mercy sometimes given when asked for

Luke 16:24-31 Mercy sometimes asked for, but not given

Micah 7:18—God delights in showing mercy (Micah 6:8)

Hebrews 4:16—Finding mercy and help in time of need


My Praise Report, by susan osten

God Knows Every Detail of Your Life.

“The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” Psalm 37:23 (NLT)

Several days ago, I went to bed, closed my eyes and Jesus appeared. He looked like a sprint. He didn’t say anything. He just reached for my right Elbow and touched it. My Elbow was filled with fluid (Bursitis) and then I fell asleep.

Prior to this happening, I was reading the Bible and came upon the Scripture, “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” Psalm 37:23 (NLT)

I had forgotten about the incident, until my husband told me my arm was getting better. I felt it, and the fluid was almost gone. I’ve had this ball of fluid on my elbow since the beginning of March. Anti-Inflammatory Medication helped a little, but the doctor asked me not to take it for very long, because it is hard on my Kidneys. When I stopped taking the medication, my Elbow would fill with fluid, again. Before I posted this, today, I felt it again and I can hardly feel the fluid.

I remember thinking, when I saw Jesus touch my Elbow, “Why is Jesus healing my Elbow?” Jesus showed me how much He loved me, and that the smallest detail doesn’t escape His eyes. I was amazed that Jesus came and healed my Elbow, without me saying a thing to Him about it.

I praise You and thank You, Jesus, for healing my Elbow.

In † Christian Love, Susan Osten

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