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The Virtue Of Mercy

Key Verse

“Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow servant, even as I had pity on thee?” (Matthew 18:33).

TEXT — Matthew 18:23-35


General James Edward Oglethorpe, who founded the state of Georgia, once told John Wesley, “I never forget and I never forgive,” to which Wesley replied, “Then, sir, I hope you never sin.” The logical deduction is that those who deny others forgiveness or mercy are never entitled to the same. This was exactly the message Christ gave the wicked servant in our text.

Today’s passage narrates the story of the unmerciful servant. When he was brought before his master to account for a huge amount of money he owed his master, he pleaded for, and obtained forgiveness. It was expected that he should extend the same mercy to the man that owed him just a little. But he failed to do so. In disappointment, his master apprehended and threw him into prison until he settled his debt.

Ordinarily, mercy ought to underline the humanity of man. Unfortunately, this is not so. Mercy is absent from the lexicon of many in our society, just as it was in the ideal state postulated by Plato for the Greek Society. Family relationship was even sacrificed on the altar of loyalty to the state. The Romans interpreted mercy as a sign of weakness, “a disease of the soul.” In Italy, “Sicilians never forget and they never forgive.” For the Italian mafia, “Revenge is a dish that tastes best when served cold”.

By the time of Christ, the Jews had transformed the principle of reciprocal justice that stipulated an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth (Exodus 21: 23-27) into an instrument of vengeance. Hence, James and John sought Christ’s permission to call down fire on the Samaritans who would not allow Him a passage to Jerusalem (Luke 9: 54). But this is antithetical to the injunction of the Lord. How do we model Christ’s love if we pray for the destruction of the same people we should win to Him? Those who have received God’s mercy must show compassion and practical love to others.

Thought for the day

Mercy denied demonstrates absence of grace.

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Pastor W.F. Kumuyi
About Author - Pastor W.F. Kumuyi

Listed among “500 most powerful people on the planet” by the Foreign Policy magazine in 2013, Pastor (Dr.) William F. Kumuyi is the founder and General Superintendent of the Deeper Christian Life Ministry (DCLM) headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria. DCLM started in 1973 as a 15-member Bible study group right in Kumuyi’s apartment at University of Lagos where he was a lecturer. His revolutionary Bible teaching on personal holiness and commitment to evangelism soon gained so much traction and resulted in a widespread revival.


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