This week we'll cover the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant (also known as the Parable of the Ungrateful Servant, Unmerciful Servant, or Wicked Servant).
|Poster from the 1992 movie version|
"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, canceled the debt and let him go.
"But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. 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 you 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 greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.
"Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled 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 turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed." (Matthew 18:23 - 34, NIV)
The meaning of the parable
This parable is a straightforward morality tale. Through it, Jesus teaches us the profound truth that two wrongs make a right. The king had canceled the servant's debt, but when he got angry, the king not only went back on his word, he had the servant tortured. Thus we learn that lying to people and hurting them is OK if they've done something we don't like.
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