Thought for The Day – Friday 25th March


The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

“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.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, cancelled 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 cancelled 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.”

Matthew 18:23-35

When I first read this passage about the Unforgiving Servant in preparing for this TFTD, I don’t know why but I bizarrely thought – of all things – of the lack of grace I currently show to those responsible for currently digging up so much of our beautiful old city of Edinburgh with all the resulting unpleasantness in the sights that await visitors and in the increasing delays while travelling across town!

Yet here we have a salutary lesson from Jesus about how forgiving we are asked to be in our response to others. How willing have we been to forgive people around us when we have been wronged? It’s certainly not easy to forgive those that we see doing very bad things in our community, in our country or in our world?

The challenge from this parable is clear, like the forgiveness command found in Ephesians 4:32 ‘Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you’. Hard as it sounds, and I find it very hard at times, when someone upsets or wrongs us, we should be willing to forgive just like the Master who forgave the servant for a very large unpaid debt (even though the servant immediately repaid this generosity by seriously lacking in grace and forgiveness for a much smaller debt that he was owed by another servant).

This parable taught the disciples, and it teaches us today, to forgive much because God has forgiven much more.

Prayer: Father God, help us to follow the example of the Master and forgive much, to forgive easily and to forgive freely. Amen.

Action: Try and let go of a situation that you have struggled to find forgiveness in.


This Thought was written by Ian McLaughlan