Sunday, July 17, 2011

Parable of the Unforgiving Parent

 

Then Peter came and said to Him. "Lord, how often shall my child disobey me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?"

Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a friend who wished to settle accounts with her girlfriends. When she had begun to settle them, one girlfriend who owed her ten thousand dollars was brought to her. But since the girlfriend did not have the means to repay, the friend told her that she would be required to go to small claims court and give away any possessions she had until the debt was paid.

So the girlfriend fell to the ground and prostrated herself before her, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.' And the friend felt compassion and released her and forgave her the debt.

But then the girlfriend went home to her daughter, who owed her a dollar, and spanked her, saying, 'I must teach you to pay back what you owe.' So her daughter fell to the ground and began to plead to her, saying, 'Have patience with me, for I am still learning.' But she was unwilling to forgive and continued to spank her to repay the debt.

So when the other girlfriends saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to the friend all that had happened. Then texting her, the friend said, 'You wicked girlfriend! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not also have had mercy on your daughter, in the same way that I had mercy on you?'

And the friend, moved with anger, blocked her on Facebook and never spoke to her again.

My heavenly father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive your child from your heart."

As Christians, we almost take for granted that God forgives our ADULT transgressions and our LARGE debts. Then we turn around and demand repayment from our children for their smaller and certainly more innocent mistakes.

Christian parents want to raise their children in the Lord. Perhaps that should mean a bit more emphasis on forgiveness and mercy, to remind our children that Jesus welcomes us with open arms and a loving heart. Parents then ask, "How will my children learn what is right and wrong?" But notice that nowhere in the parable are right and wrong confused or dismissed. Mercy is acknowledging a debt and releasing it. We can teach our children right from wrong while still showing them mercy. Life has plenty of teachable moments in store for them regardless.

The above parody is from this part of the Bible:
Then Peter came and said to Him. "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" Jesus said to him, I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. for this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.' And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt. But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him saying, 'Pay back what you owe.' So this fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you.' But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed. So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened. Then summoning him, his lord said to him, 'You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?' And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. My heavenly father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart." 
Matthew 18:21-35 (NAS)

"Some punishment. Is God a pushover? No. He simply does not add any harm He could do to us to the harm we have already chosen for ourselves. The father of the prodigal son concentrates on a more important motivator: building a relationship that is so strong, so undeniably loving, that the son will never want to 'leave His house' again.

Through the wisdom of Christ's new mandate (John 13:24), we must learn the methods that will allow us to deal with our children's transgressions the way that God deals with ours.

To do less is to diminish in our children's eyes, the very love of God. To do less is to live out the roles of the servant in the parable, who forgiven his debts by the just King, exacts punishment on those who owed him. (Matthew 18:21-35)

When God reaches out to us with arms of love and forgiveness, but we treat our children to physical punishment, we are acting the part of the ungrateful servant. Will not God be faithful to us and 'forgives us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us?' (Matthew 6:12) ~Gregory Popcak


The Bible and Spanking:
http://guggiedaly.blogspot.com/2011/04/quick-post-on-bible-and-spanking.html


1 comment: