Psychologist James Dobson reported seeing a sign at a convent in southern California that had the following message: Absolutely No Trespassing—Violators Will Be Prosecuted to the Full Extent of the Law. Signed, “The Sisters of Mercy.”
If we truly understood the enormous scope of the mercy we have received from God, we would be much more willing to give mercy to people who have wronged us.
In Matthew 18, Jesus tells a story about a servant who owed his master an unbelievably large amount of money. Since he could not pay back the debt, the master had pity on the man, cancelled the debt and let him go.
That man in turn found a fellow servant who owed him a relatively small amount of money. Rather than forgive as he had been forgiven, he demanded payment. When the fellow servant could not repay him, he had him thrown into prison.
When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and reported the incident to the master. The master called the servant back into his presence and said, “Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?” (v.33). The angry master handed the ungrateful servant over to the jailers to be severely punished.
Jesus finishes the story will this application—“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” (v.35).
Think of all the numerous sins that God has forgiven you. Then consider your willingness to forgive others for the relatively minor sins they commit against you.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”—Matthew 5:7.