‘ “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. ‘
Welcome back to the Pati Path! I know it’s been awhile, so if you need a thorough recap, check out parts 1 and 2! Otherwise, here’s a quick summary:
- pati is a Latin word that means to suffer
- the word “compassion” comes from the roots “com” and “pati”, and literally means to suffer with
- the word “patience” also has the root “pati”, and can translate to suffering without getting angry and upset
- through the Holy Spirit, we have the power to display true compassion and patience, to bear good fruit
With all this mind, let’s look at these words in action in Matthew 18:
’21 Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus *said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”
Imagine forgiving a person over and over and over again, just to switch up after their 491st offense. At that point, I feel like forgiveness would probably come easier than unforgiveness. You would’ve developed the muscle memory to say “it’s okay” and know how to mean it. Would it be worth the energy to learn how to stop?
I always think about the VeggieTales episode about forgiveness when I get to this point of the passage. (Yes, I did just sit and watch all 32 minutes of it, and yes, the 1994 animation techniques are spectacular.) I’m tempted to just let y’all watch it so the Word can speak for itself, but I have my own revelations to share so let’s proceed.
“23 For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24 When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. 25 But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. 26 So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.’ 27 And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt.”
In this part of the passage, we have a slave who owed a king a lot of money, like 200,000 years’ worth of wages. He knew good and well he’d never be able to pay the king back, but he still asked for patience. Because the king was considerate of the slave’s impossible situation, he forgave and forgot the debt by canceling it. The king let him go to live as if he’d never had debt to begin with. I didn’t know how much 10,000 talents was worth until I did the research to write this post, but this is quite the dilemma. Imagine that the lives of everyone in your family are on the line, and all you can do is ask for more time, time that would never be enough. We’re quick to hound people for the $30 they owe us in food&gas money, because as we’re about to see, we often act a lot like the slave in the passage. We have unimaginable forgiveness offered to us, yet we struggle to turn around and let go of the smallest offenses.
’28 But that slave (Bob) went out and found one of his fellow slaves (Larry) who owed him a hundred denarii; and he (Bob) seized him (Larry) and began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow slave (Larry) fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you.’ 30 But he (Bob) was unwilling and went and threw him (Larry) in prison until he should pay back what was owed. 31 So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened. 32 Then summoning him (Bob), his lord *said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?’ 34 And his lord, moved with anger, handed him (Bob) over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. 35 My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.”’
Since there are two slaves now, I’ll be calling them Bob and Larry. Just in case this is your first time reading the Bible (welcome!), *I* added the names in parentheses to make it easier to follow along. VeggieTales characters not included in the original text.
10,000 talents is 200,000 years’ wages, but 100 denarii is just a 100 days’ wages. Bob, first of his name, ower of 10,000 talents… I don’t watch GOT so that’s all I got, anyway, BOB clearly did not take any notes from the king. Literally came at Larry all types of crazy. At least Bob got brought to the king––Larry probably got interrupted during his evening meal just to get beat up. And for what? Just like Bob, who had been in an even bigger mess, Larry asked for patience. Despite any good intentions, Bob never would’ve been able to pay the king back. At least Larry had a chance, but Bob wasn’t budging. Merciless as he was, he threw Larry in prison (and how was he supposed to work from there??).
- disposition to forgive or show compassion for an offender
- compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.
Because he had no mercy, Bob was not able to be compassionate and forgive Larry the way that the king was able to forgive him. Bob forgot the magnitude of the gift the king had given him by forgiving him of and forgetting his debt. The king could’ve forgiven the cost of the debt and kept Bob in prison instead, but he didn’t. Bob refused to put himself in Larry’s shoes, and he had multiple ways to do so. He could’ve remembered what the king had done for him, but he also could have just thought about what it was like to be Larry, fully aware that he was in debt, and fully prepared to do whatever he could to pay it back. How would patience from Bob have changed this situation?
Bob’s inability to show Larry mercy landed him back in hot water with the king. If we don’t understand how God has chosen to forgive us, we will be unable to understand how to display this same forgiveness to others. This is a topic I’ve thought about, questioned really, for a long time, and I really want to hear thoughts from y’all so leave a comment or use my contact page to hit me up! Otherwise, here’s an excerpt from one of many articles that I’ve referenced:
In a context of daily prayer, the true disciple can expect forgiveness based upon forgiveness of others (Matt 6). In the context of the proclamation of the salvation of the Messiah from sin, a person is proclaimed forgiven based upon the condition of faith (Matt 9). In the context of describing true and false disciples in the kingdom, those who do not forgive are not true disciples (Matt 18). Finally, in the context of the death and resurrection of Jesus as a substitutionary sacrifice to establish a new covenant, forgiveness is proclaimed based upon the condition of faith (Matt 26).
Thus, in Matthew, to be saved from sin (Matt 1:21) is based upon the condition of faith in Jesus and entering into the kingdom of Jesus. To be saved from sin does not have the condition of forgiving other people in the contexts of the offer of such salvation.
Those who enter the kingdom as little children are taught to pray daily for a forgiveness designed to avoid the daily consequences of God bringing punishment upon them. That daily forgiveness is conditional upon their forgiveness of others. Also, those who are true disciples of Jesus (the true little children), have the characteristic of forgiving others, since those who refuse to forgive are not true disciples.”
It’s long and honestly worth the read, but in summary, context is key. It’s what I’ve been learning over and over again. I actually wrote all around verse 35 in this post titled will my unforgiveness keep me out of heaven?, and that dropped back in 2017. I also got a lesson on it at church last Sunday when my pastor addressed the apparent contradiction of being told to sin no more but also being instructed what to do when you sin. I haven’t shared my church notes in awhile, so maybe I’ll hit y’all with those soon. This all just goes to show that learning and growing as a Christian is a never-ending journey, and I’m pretty okay with that.
I didn’t realize what I was getting myself into (I rarely do) when I started this series, but it’s been a fun time, and I thank y’all for being patient *wink wink* with me as I wrapped it up. But who knows, maybe I’ll learn even more and end up back on this Pati- Path!
be blessed bbys ✨
‘Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. Truly I say to you, you will not come out of there until you have paid up the last cent.’