vv 32-33. Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’
Jesus told this story about showing mercy – and what a strong one it is!
The very fact that God has forgiven us is the basis for forgiving others and showing mercy to them. This is why it is important to acknowledge and confess our own sin and failures, and so begin to grasp the scope of God’s grace and forgiveness extended to us. It is only then that we see the importance of not passing judgement on others and learn to forgive.
However, that does not mean that we ignore things when they go wrong. There will be times when wrong-doing has to be confronted in a positive and helpful fashion and dealt with to bring about change. I used to find that in a professional capacity. At times staff fell short of the expected professional standards for a wide variety of reasons, and that needed to be confronted and dealt with properly in a way that demonstrated both understanding and grace. On occasions there were very good causes of failure, so mercy and kindness had to enter the equation. It is the same with growing children; parents find themselves having to rebuke and correct bad behaviour, but with kindness and gentle grace.
The foundation stone in relationships of this kind is the awareness that we are all forgiven people – and therefore need to be forgiving and merciful people ourselves. Thoughts of revenge, spitefulness or bitterness have no place in our reaction to wrongdoing.