You live a responsive life. You respond to people and events. You respond to unkindness, indifference, and generosity. A significant part of your training as a disciple of Jesus is coming to understand to what your life is really meant to be a response.
Your Master told a story in order to emphasize the necessity of forgiveness and mercy. This story is about an unimaginably great debt owed by a servant and forgiven by his king. This servant then turned around and had a fellow servant imprisoned because he couldn’t repay a comparably small debt. The ridiculousness of this servant’s lack of mercy after receiving such incredible mercy wasn’t lost on Jesus’ original audience, nor is it lost on those who hear or read it today.
Disciple, the servant who has been released from an unpayable debt is you. It is every disciple who reads or hears this story. The warning in the story is to you and every disciple as well. We must all be sure to live in response to what the King, our Father, has done for us. We must not live in response to what others do to us, for the treatment we receive from others is too fickle in this fallen world. To respond to unkindness with unkindness or goodness with goodness requires no Kingdom power. The flesh can accomplish that very easily. To respond to irritating situations with irritation or delightful outcomes with delight is not admirable or laudable.
Ah, but the new lifestyle of faith, hope, and love into which you’ve been reborn is one of response to what has been done for you, in you, and through you by the living God Himself. You love because He has loved you (see 1 John 4:19). You forgive because He has forgiven you (Colossians 3:13). You are generous and show mercy because He has been generous and merciful towards you. Disciple, the blueprint for your responses in life has been laid out for you by what has been done for you by the single most important Person there is.
Living in this kind of faith-fueled responsiveness is possible and intended for you, but it will take time and training to grow into it. So then, take the time and train, for your Master and Teacher stands ready to take the time to train you. Meditate on what has been given you and done for you. Remind yourself what boundless goodness has been extended to you. Rehearse the blessings that continually flow over you day after day. Yes, live toward others and face circumstances with the steadiness of those blessings. May your goodness towards those around you (even “those people”) grow and flourish to become as steady and faithful as your Father’s is toward you. As the apostle John put it, then His love will be made complete in you (1 John 4:12,17). And that is a reality worth pursuing today!
Responding to His overwhelming goodness and love with you,