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The Great Lessons
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Mercy and Forgiveness
little is forgiven, little love is returned.
A certain man
was reviewing the accounts of two men who had borrowed money.
One owed him five hundred gold pieces, while the other owed him
fifty. Knowing that neither had any means of repaying him, he compassionately
forgave both of their debts. Which of these two men do you suppose
was the most grateful?
time came for a certain king to appraise his financial records.
During this process, one of his servants was brought before him,
who owed a staggering amount, ten thousand gold pieces!
Since it was
impossible that the servant ever repay such a debt, the king resorted
to the law, which decreed that the debtor and his family be sold
into slavery, and their house and possessions be disposed of in
a public auction.
the servant fell to his knees before the king, and cried: "My
Lord and King, I beg you to have patience with me, and I will repay
you all that I owe."
So moved was
the king with compassion, that he forgave the debt, and let his
servant go free.
On his way home,
this same servant encountered a friend who owed him a few pennies.
Instead of showing mercy, however, he seized the man by the throat,
shouting: "Thief! Pay me back the coins that you borrowed from
His friend fell
at his feet, and pleaded: "Please be patient! I swear that
I will repay you every last cent."
But the servant
wouldn't listen, even to his friend’s begging and tears, and
had the poor man dragged off to prison until he could repay the
debt according to the law.
By chance, some
of the king's servants witnessed this outrageous behaviour, and
reported it back to the king.
Immediately, the king sent for his servant, and said: "Wicked
servant. I forgave you an immense debt simply out of mercy. Couldn't
you have shown similar compassion to your own friend who owed you
such an insignificant sum?"
this, the king handed the servant over to his prison guards, and
commanded them to lock him away until all his debts had been paid.
So will my heavenly Father judge you, if you refuse to forgive your
own brothers and sisters from the depths of your hearts.
Do not limit
your attitude of forgiveness. Are you willing to forgive seven
times? Seventy times seven times is more appropriate. Make peace,
even with your enemies. Constant striving will lead only to
greater trouble: lawsuits, courtrooms, even prison, with no way
of undoing the penalty except by completing your sentence.
Do you remember
the saying: an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth? I tell you
the opposite. If somebody strikes you on the right cheek, offer
him your left; or if someone sues you and takes your coat, offer
the shirt off your back as well. If someone compels you to walk
one mile, be willing to walk two. Give freely to those who ask of
you, and never turn a deaf ear to those in need.
When you stand
in the place of worship, do so with a heart overflowing with forgiveness,
even as your Father in heaven forgives you. And should you bring
an offering into the place of worship, only then remembering an
unresolved disagreement, leave your gift at the altar. Go first
and be reconciled, and then return to make an offering of your gift.
If someone wrongs you, go and discuss it with that person in private.
If they listen to you, you will have gained a friend.
Learn to practice
forgiveness, and your life will be filled with mercy and grace.