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: kglavich@ndec.org – 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

Source: http://www.as4me.net/examples-of-showing-mercy

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

Parable of the Sower

On this earth are billions of people who have never, even once, heard God’s Word from the Bible spoken to them. There are millions like that just in America alone. Probably right in your neighborhood are people with no hope, with seemingly unsolvable troubles, going through terrible trials, yet who have never heard the powerful answers God has for them. I want to encourage you to determine personally to be one of Jesus’ faithful “sowers [who] sow the word.” People’s lives and eternity are in the balance.

Mark 4:3-14, KJV …Behold, there went out a sower to sow… [8] And other [seed] fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred… [14] The sower soweth the word.

“The sower soweth the word,” said Jesus. And that Word of God, He said, produces fruit, “a crop.” The Lord is telling us in these parables to share His Word with people, and it has the potential to bear fruit in their lives and to lead to an abundant harvest.

Matthew 13:1-23 (KJV)

1 The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side.

2 And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.

3 And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;

4 And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:

5 Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:

6 And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.

7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:

8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.

9 Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?

11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.

17 For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.

19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.

20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;

21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.

22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

He has commissioned us to be seed-sowers. The field is the world, Jesus said in another parable (Matthew 13:38). Christ’s command that we be sowers of the seed of His Word in all the world, is an early hint at His later Great Commission: “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15). It’s similar in Luke 24:49, where Jesus directs His disciples into ministry in which “repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”

In God’s Love and † Grace, Susan

Excerpts from Pastor Jim Feeny’s sermon entitled “The Sower Sows the Word. You Can Too and Harvest a Crop.”