Hey everyone! It’s been quite a while since my last blog post. So much has been going on here at Parables & Books this year; we will have two grade levels from Educ8’s curriculum released in addition to a children’s pictorial entitled Worry Wart and an adult novel, If She Only Knew.
While I am excited for all of those endeavors, I do want to take some time for reflection. When I first began blogging almost a year ago, I initially wanted to incorporate parables somehow into the posts. I mean, the connection is pretty obvious and what better source for topics of discussion. My blogging kind of evolved into a sounding board to vent and bring up concerns and interests of mine. I’m happy with everything I’ve mentioned in my previous posts, but I do want to take this opportunity to blog about a parable so I won’t regret not doing it later.
There are many parables out there, but I’ve decided to talk about Matthew 18:21-35 which discusses the unforgiving servant.
According to the NIV:
“Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven. 23 "Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began the reckoning, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents; 25 and as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, `Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him the lord of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But that same servant, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat he said, `Pay what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down and besought him, `Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 He refused and went and put him in prison till he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. 32 Then his lord summoned him and said to him, `You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you besought me; 33 and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his lord delivered him to the jailers, till he should pay all his debt.”
When reading this parable, a few themes come to mind, mainly the importance of forgiveness. It takes a lot of strength to be able to forgive others, especially if they have deeply hurt us in a personal way. The ability to forgive is a true mark of a great person. I’d also say the hypocrisy of the servant is important to note. We cannot be so upset with others for hurting us in some way if we similarly have hurt others and in a much worse way. Karma is also explored in this parable, as the servant was ultimately punished for not acting benevolently.
Looking from a completely selfish point of view, it’s actually much better for individuals to forgive than hold on to grudges. When people stay angry for long periods of time, that bitterness just festers and affects the human body in such nasty ways. It really increases stress, which we all know by this point to be the biggest cause of all disease, be it physical or mental.
Furthermore, it’s a very self-centered person that doesn’t want to forgive yet expects others to extend that courtesy to him/her. That’s essentially what hypocrites are: egoists. As a hypocrite, you expect all the rules to apply to everyone else while you yourself are above the law. Everybody can be selfish and, at times, everybody should look out for himself, but that should never come at the expense of not being able to treat others with respect and humility. That’s really what forgiveness boils down to; respect. By forgiving others, you show that you have respect for them and are humble enough to overlook their faults and wrongdoings. Although it shouldn’t be, forgiving others provides an incentive for others to forgive us should we ever hurt them. Letting go can be difficult, but it really yields a much bigger return. The pros greatly outweigh the cons.
I’m not exactly innocent of being able to forgive other people. There definitely were times in the past that I held onto the resentment I had toward people that I felt wronged me. Unfortunately, that negativity really doesn’t get me or anyone else anywhere. I am using this post now to formally express sincere forgiveness to anyone and everyone in the past 24 years who intentionally or unintentionally said or did anything to hurt me. If anything, it made me a stronger person. I ask anyone that I may have hurt knowingly or unknowingly to forgive me in return, for all of our sakes. To quote Don Henley (or India Arie depending which version you prefer), “There are people in your life who’ve come and gone they let you down, you know they hurt your pride. You better put it all behind you baby; cause’ life goes on if you keep carryin’ that anger, it’ll eat you up inside.”