Extend Grace, Mercy, and Forgiveness
The other day, I took off during my lunch break to grab some food in a drive-thru, but it was during a time when the road was partially blocked off for road construction. I realized that it was going to be tricky to get in and out of the food establishment and then try to maneuver through the traffic afterward, but I was motivated and took the risk.
When it was time to pull into the lane of traffic after getting my food, I had to wait for a reasonably sized opening in order to make my way into the single lane of slow moving cars. There just didn’t seem to be a break. Then finally, after many cars had passed, one driver slowed down and hurriedly waved me on. Problem number one solved.
The next step was to get through the traffic quick enough to make it back to work with enough time to be able to eat my food. The car in front of me took forevvveeerrr!! At least, that’s what it felt like. I could feel myself growing impatient as I tried to beat the clock and found myself telling the car in front of me to, “Hurry up!” And even added a few extra comments like: “Truly? Does it REALLY take that long?” “You could speed it up a little, sir…”
Then without warning, a deep conviction pierced my heart. Here I was, giving little to no grace to the driver in front of me when just moments before someone had slowed down, let me in, and showed me undeserved grace in the moment I needed it, and the Holy Spirit brought to mind “The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant” in Matthew 18.
In the parable, there is a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants. There was one man in particular who owed him a great sum of money. When the man learned his punishment, he begged the king on his knees, saying: “ ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ ” The Word says that the king had pity and erased the debt. But the story does not end there. Take a look:
“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.”
The other servants of the king were so disturbed by this, they told the king about it. Here’s the king’s response: “…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 handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.”
This parable hinges on grace, mercy, and ultimately forgiveness. God so graciously demonstrates these qualities without measure to us, and yet…do we do the same? I know that this particular day when I was more worried about my tummy and getting back to work than being gracious or merciful, the Holy Spirit in His infinite wisdom slowed down my heart and soul to reflect and in doing so humbled me, and I am so, so thankful.
Today, let’s not forget to extend grace and mercy and forgiveness. No, people do not generally deserve it, but then…neither did we.
FBC Aztec Member