by Terry J. Hallock

The Chains of an Unforgiving Spirit
Terry J. Hallock
Matthew 18:15-35
April 21, 2002

You’ve never done anything to Sister Smith and yet for reasons you don’t understand she has begun a malicious gossip campaign about you, spreading lies made up out of whole cloth. You trusted Brother Jones with a personal confidence and he swore himself to absolute secrecy. Yet within a few days of that moment of intimacy where you bared your soul, another friend calls you up and asks if it is true what they have heard about you. You trusted another with your heart and believed that no matter what occurred they would always be on your side. Yet in a moment of confrontation with others over an issue of absolute uncompromising principle with you, this person you thought was your friend through thick and thin turns on you and sides with those who oppose your values.

Need I go on? It may be a spouse who broke the marriage covenant, a child who broke your heart, a friend who broke your trust, or a stranger who broke your spirit. Yet whoever was the cause or whatever it was that they did, they have now imprisoned your life in the chains of unrelenting emotional pain. Day in and day out there is hardly a second that goes by when you do not regurgitate their act and feel the pain again as if it was for the first time.

So what do we do when the act of another creates a debt of suffering and pain? That’s the circumstance that Jesus says faced the servant in His parable of Matthew 18. In either a moment of personal generosity or just plain hard business this servant had loaned a fellow servant 100 denarii or about $20 and the fellow servant had yet to pay back. We are not exactly why he did so but when the servant saw his debtor his patience ran out and he demanded restitution. In fact he made sure his debtor understood the seriousness of the situation by physically assaulting him and almost choking him to death. After he was finished exacting physical revenge on his debtor he ...

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