I’ve been there. The trials and tribulations of this life have beaten you down and lied to you. They taunt you, threaten to steal your soul, and you’re laying there on the ground, face buried in the palms of your hands, begging God to bring you peace… and the same continues.
You’re tempted in these moments to not only stray from God but to deny Him altogether, and at points, God in His grace uses your anger as siren to you that He must exist. So, you try to follow Him.
In the midst of your pain, you muscle through acts of service for our King because you want to serve Him (for whatever reasons you have) while continuing to face the evil that eats away at you physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
The only thing that keeps you from vocally blaming God altogether is not your love for Him but rather your fear that He won’t save you, and you realize in these moments just how far away from Him you must be.
And when it seems like you’ve been at your wits’ end for months or even years, the word gives you a spark of hope that you desperately needed, pointing to the reason that you haven’t received mercy… and it’s you.
The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
In Matthew 18, we find the parable of a man who was on the verge of being sold along with his family and everything he had for failing to pay a substantial debt. Mind you; this was no ordinary large debt.
In today’s currency, “ten thousand talents” would be somewhere in the range of billions of dollars. You can imagine the trouble this man was in, and so did he. So, he began to beg his master for patience. Falling on his knees, he began to implore him, promising to pay him back. And in a wonderful act of mercy, the master forgave him his debt.
And soon after, the servant went out, and upon seeing one of his servants who owed him money, he came after him. And while choking him, he ordered the man to pay what he owed! His fellow servant pleaded with him just as he did with his own master, but he showed no mercy, and he put him in prison until the debt could be paid.
It rubs you the wrong way, doesn’t it? I feel like David in 2 Samuel 12 when Nathan brought him the story of a rich man who stole from the poor without pity. It angers me. My prayer for us, however, is that our merciless acts would come to our attention and that we would be drawn to repentance – just like David shortly after Nathan showed him his sin – because eternity is at stake.
You see, in our blindness, we may very well be keeping our own selves from receiving mercy, just like the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18. After the servant showed no mercy to his own servant and his master got word of it, he summoned him, and in anger, he threw him in jail until his debt could be paid. And at the end of this parable, we receive the warning that our heavenly father will do the same thing to us if we do not forgive our brother from our heart.
I pray that this brings joy to you as it did to me! For months I kept dealing with the same oppression from the enemy. I often prayed for God to take this from me. I was in pain emotionally and spiritually and was even tempted to walk away from God completely. I began to wonder if the struggle would be unrelenting, and in one of my “wits’ end” moments, God reminded me of passages like this one.
Immediately I gained a glimmer of hope because I knew of someone in my life that I had been merciless to. I had grown bitter and further away from the Lord than I would have imagined early on in ministry. But this hope gave me a reason for the change.
I saw this as an opportunity to practice the mercy that I so desperately hoped to receive… and it happened.
Like the sun rising on a cold winter’s night, so my pain left me. In my acts of mercy, God showed me the same. In my forgiveness, God forgave me. It’s crazy how I was so blinded to it. The promise hangs behind me and has for a while now! On my wall hangs a piece of canvas with the model prayer that includes, “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. (Matthew 6:12)
Mind you; mercilessness is not the only hindrance to prayer. This is one of many sins that can hinder us from receiving mercy, so I beg you to bury yourself in the word and seek God. For the sake of your soul and His glory, I pray that you become as pure in deed as possible, this side of the Kingdom.
And remember the redeemed show mercy. (Matthew 5:7) The righteous produce righteousness. (1 John 3:7) May your life point you to where you stand with the King. “The end of all things is at hand; therefore, be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. (1 Peter 4:7)
Grace and Peace