It is the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant, which is also known as the Parable of the Ungrateful Servant and it appears in the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament of the bible. According to Matthew 18:21-35, it indicates the importance of forgiving others, so that we are also forgiven by the Divine for our own mistakes and trespasses!
This parable was told by Jesus Christ as an answer to a question by Peter (one of his key apostles) about forgiveness…
Peter asks Jesus, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Until seven times?”
Jesus replies by saying that he should not only forgive his brother just seven times, but seventy times seven!! Basically, Jesus indicates that irrespective of the number of times, people around us err or commit mistakes or do actions that hurt us, we need to show them kindness and compassion by forgiving their mistakes!
This is when Jesus narrates ‘The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant’…
Once upon a time, a King was reconciling his accounts and he noticed that one of his officials owed him a huge amount of debt! As was the practice in those days, the King ordered for that official along with his family and belongings to be auctioned off and the proceeds to be forwarded to the treasury. The official was horrified at this verdict and fell at the feet of his King, asking forgiveness… He said, “please forgive me!! Please show me some kindness and patience… I will repay everything in due time.” The King was moved by his plea and decided to forgive his debt.
This official stepped out of the palace and came across one of his own workers, who owed him a little amount of money. He demanded that the worker promptly pay him all that was owed to him. Since the worker was not able to do so, he asked for forgiveness and patience from the official, saying that he will shortly pay back his debt! The official was not moved by kindness and had no compassion in his heart, for his worker. He immediately asked for his arrest and requested that proper legal proceedings to be carried out against that fella!
The King came to know about this incident and asked for that official to be brought into his royal court! He asked him “You wicked servant! I forgave you the huge amount that you owed to me, shouldn’t you also have some mercy in your heart to forgive those who owe you small amounts of debt?”
Then the King was so angry with that unmerciful official that he ordered that his previous ‘clemency’ be cancelled and that he be tormented till he paid back all that he owed to the kingdom.
It is not for us to judge if their mistakes are big or small… what we need to do is show love and compassion, so that we in turn can receive love, kindness, compassion, and forgiveness from the Divine!
I hope this parable touches your heart.
Remember that even though we may think of ourselves as quite flawless, the reality is that we each have committed many mistakes and trespasses. Before we can expect the Divine to forgive our terrible sins, it is important we show kindness to his people, by forgiving those who have wronged us. If there is anyone against who you harbor anger or resentment, then forgive them… if you feel someone has deeply wronged you or terribly insulted you, still forgive them… forgive them, so you too can be forgiven!
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