The Unmerciful Servant


Matthew 18:26-27 (CEB)
26But the servant fell down, kneeled before him, and said, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I’ll pay you back.’ 27The master had compassion on that servant, released him, and forgave the loan.


Today’s verses are from the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant. It turns out this guy owed the master a huge sum of money—maybe a million dollars. He gets hauled in front of the master who demands payment for the debt. Unable to pay, he is told his wife and children would be put into slavery and all his possessions sold to cover what he owed.

The servant gets down on his knees and begs the master for mercy and patience, promising he would eventually repay the debt. Moved by compassion, the master completely cancels the debt and lets the man go.

On his way home, he runs into an acquaintance who owes him some money—maybe twenty bucks. He grabs the man, puts him in a choke hold, and demands his money. The second man pleads with him for mercy and patience, promising to repay the debt. But he will hear none of that and has the man thrown into jail.

When the master caught wind of this, he had the servant brought back in and called him wicked because he should have shown the same mercy as the master had shown him. Then, he was thrown into jail and tortured until the original debt was paid.

Jesus wraps up the parable by saying, “My heavenly Father will also do the same to you if you don’t forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”


We can understand the master’s anger. So too should we understand God’s disappointment when we do not treat others with the same love, mercy, and compassion that God extends to us. If we deny that to others, don’t we really deny it to ourselves?


If today’s devotion spoke to you in a particular way and you feel led to share your thoughts with others, please do so.