“Once there was a king who decided to check on his servants' accounts. He had just begun to do so when one of them was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. The servant did not have enough to pay his debt, so the king ordered him to be sold as a slave, with his wife and his children and all that he had, in order to pay the debt. The servant fell on his knees before the king. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay you everything!' The king felt sorry for him, so he forgave him the debt and let him go. "Then the man went out and met one of his fellow servants who owed him a few dollars. He grabbed him and started choking him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he said. His fellow servant fell down and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back!' But he refused; instead, he had him thrown into jail until he should pay the debt.” Matthew18:23-30
Not long ago I was involved in a conversation berating someone whose life is a mess. They’re making choices that impact others painfully and negatively. Later the Lord asked me, “By what right are you passing judgment and behaving self-righteously?” With a broken heart I realized I was wrong. With my words I cast them into the prison of condemnation. I’ve been forgiven a debt I couldn’t pay and yet here I’m verbally grabbing by the collar and demanding they straighten up.
It’s not my place to call in the debt of another, or worse yet demand payment of a debt not owed to me. Oh how we hold others to an expectation of sinlessness that we ourselves can’t live by. How we imprison them in our attitudes until they straighten up. We don’t have the right to pick them apart; we’re to pray for them. There’s no gray area. If we’re taking them apart with family or friends and not praying for them, we’re wrong. God hasn’t called us to be debt collectors, but to be forgivers.
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