Matthew 18: 28-30
My wife Sara and I have been talking about the impact we're feeling from one of the sections of my soon-to-be-released book, "From Comfort Zone to Trust Zone." It makes us rethink how we consider others and their sins compared to our own. It makes us consider how we can be judgmental and unforgiving.
One Scriptural text found in the chapter, "Releasing Your Sins and Stones," comes from the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant. A servant owes his master a tremendous sum, but the servant cannot pay it. The master forgives him the entire debt. But the servant doesn't act the same toward others. Picking up the text at Matthew 18: 28-30, with Jesus speaking:
“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."
William Barclay commented on this passage. His comments are what we have been mulling over.
One of the faults of the unforgiving servant was that he demanded standards from others which he was not prepared to fulfill himself. . .We are, for instance, often very critical of others and very easy with ourselves. . .What is candid frankness in us is discourteous brutality of speech in others. What is selfishness in others is standing on our indisputable rights in our own case. What is meanness in others is thrift in ourselves. Should we fail in anything we produce half a dozen valid reasons which in others would be feeble excuses. [Barclay, William. The Parables of Jesus. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1999 (reprint).]
In other words, we must look in the mirror and realize that we hold a double standard.
I realize that some of us can hold onto our mistakes too long, feeling grief, regret, and depression. Still, there is some part of all of us that would judge others harshly without knowing what lies behind the scenes of each person.
As part of our seven-day practical faith journey, Jesus calls each of us to let go of our judgment and forgive others readily and repeatedly. We must look in the mirror, realize what we're doing, repent, and change our behavior toward others. We must let go of their sins just as Jesus lets go of ours.
"From Comfort Zone to Trust Zone: How Jesus Urges Us to Take Leaps of Faith for His Kingdom" is now available for presale on my website. In the book, I walk through a dozen Gospel stories of Jesus challenging people to do something new for his sake outside of their comfort zones. Please watch the trailer video at CecilTaylorMinistries.com/from-comfort-zone-to-trust-zone, and see the pricing at Store.CecilTaylorMinistries.com.