Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Stanley paces around the compound of his house like a man going berserk. He knows this time the noose around his neck is being tightened, a situation so precarious that he is even thinking of committing suicide. The sum he borrowed has compounded and ballooned beyond his capability to settle.

The loan sharks had threatened his family incessantly even though several police reports were made. His younger sister, Wendy had pleaded with him to settle the loans as unending pressure upon them was at the breaking point. Red paints, embarrassing-worded signs and even Stanley's photos were used to intimidate his family.

He climbs the gates and quickly runs toward the back window. He whistles to his sister and slightly knocks on the panes. He sees one of the windows is open and takes a peek. To his utter surprise, he sees his dad chatting with his mom, both laughing. In fact, they are feasting on the table, happily chewing away. “Have they gone crazy or what?” he thinks to himself.

“Stanley!” a voice shouts from inside the house. "Dad, brother is back!" Wendy yells in delight. He climbs through the window and whispering to his sister to stop yelling. “Shhhh! You want your brother to die, do you?” Stanley holds her hands. “It’s okay already,” his dad speaks calmly, grinning from ear to ear. This adds to Stanley’s confusion. “What is happening?” he whispers again, looking outside the window. “Stanley, calm down!” his mom stands up and puts her hands on his face. “Your Uncle John had paid everything for you and settled the loan amount with those gangsters,” she speaks slowly, making sure he understands everything. “No…no way…Oh my God!” Stanley cannot believe his ears. “Ma, no way! Uncle John…Oh my God,” he adds, kneeling down. Uncle John is a distant relative whom Stanley doesn’t even know he has.

Stanley is in tears as each one takes turn to admonish him. “Call Uncle John right now and thank him, in words and deeds,” his dad speaks sternly. “And don’t you ever borrow again?”

Two years later…

“Stanley, now you are a real man,” the burly thug speaks proudly as Stanley returns another interest payment he borrowed from them. “Luckily the last time you have your Uncle to settle for you,” he continues, egging him on to borrow more. These loan sharks know about the golden goose in his Uncle John, as Stanley often boasted. They take advantage of his frequent visits to remisiers and his ambition for riches to press him to take a larger amount from them. “Take it. It’s all yours. Feel free to multiply it! Wish you good luck.”

Investment in stocks has become his priority as he was recently sacked from his job as a salesman. Money borrowed is being sprinkled heavily in various stocks, most of them without any thorough research but through hearsay.

“Hey you!” Stanley meets one of his former colleagues. He pushes Brandon to a corner and demands him to pay back what he has owed him. “Stan, I thought I told you to give me a couple of months more,” Brandon pleads. “No way! I have given you enough time,” Stanley presses him, knocks Brandon on his head. “I need the money, Brandon. I don’t care whether you steal from your dad or rob a bank, I want it tomorrow,” he angrily pressures his frightened debtor. Stanley needs to return some interests on his loan. Meanwhile, an older man rushes toward Brandon as he is being pushed backwards.

“Lay off my son, young man,” the man growls. His deep penetrating eyes lock on Stanley’s and the old man frightens him. “Okay! Good. You come at the right time,” Stanley retorts sheepishly. “Your Brandon owes me a thousand dollars,” he continues, becoming bolder. The angry man takes out his wallet and counts a thousand dollars for Stanley. He then hurriedly walks off with his badly shaken son, Brandon.

Next Day…

“Stanley!” a familiar voice comes a calling again. “Ok, here’s the thousand dollars for my interests for now, more than enough I believe,” Stanley speaks arrogantly. The few burly men accost him and pin him against the wall. “Listen here and listen good! I don’t know what happened but your previous donor for your borrowings has stopped giving us any money,” one gangster who has tattooed all over his shoulders speaks angrily.

“What do you mean?” Stanley shudders. “I thought my Uncle John had paid everything,” he adds confusingly.

“No! Uncle John had an instalment plan and we agreed to it. And now, he refused to pay. You are in great trouble, boy,” the thug speaks loudly.

“Ok. Ok. Let me call him,” Stanley begins to shiver.

“Is that Uncle John? This is Stanley. The loan sharks are with me and threatening me for not paying my previous loan. I thought you have paid for me,” Stanley utters desperately.

The voice on the other side answers, “Remember Brandon? I am his dad!” The line goes dead.

The parable of the Unmerciful Servant is only found in Matthew 18:21-34.

This story is a reaction of Jesus towards Peter asking about the frequency to forgive a person. Jesus does not mince His words when He says, seventy-seven times, a hyperbole to mean every time. The premises of the kingdom of heaven are unconditional love and mercy for everyone! Every single soul is precious in the eyes of God. And forgiveness is a pivotal characteristic in the Kingdom principles, never to be missed by every follower of the King of kings!

Unlike the Pharisees and religious leaders of the day, Jesus never once said something that He did not do. He always demonstrates whatever he says so that no one can point a finger at Him! His integrity is impeccable! When Jesus speaks of forgiveness to His disciples, His mind is invariably turns toward that day where He will be hung on the cross! That day would become a turning point in history for all mankind.

Jesus Christ forgave us unconditionally, without keeping record of past wrongs. So, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13). To not forgive is like the parable of the Unmerciful Servant, a story that will make any reasonable person boiling in anger! That's exactly what Jesus wants to achieve when he tells that parable!

“Say sorry first and I will forgive you,” many may say. But Christ did not do that! He died for us while we were yet sinners. While the soldiers and people are crying out for his blood, Jesus proclaims, ‘Father forgive them” It is important for every son and daughter of the Kingdom to understand that unforgiveness in our life can block our spiritual growth like gangrene. More so, it blocks our influence in this world!

Note: I have learned that forgiveness and reconciliation are two separate issues altogether. You can forgive without reconciliation. Reconciliation requires two parties to come together and sort out their differences (if that happened, cool) but forgiveness requires only one. We forgive not to set the other person free, but to set ourselves free! When we forgive, it doesn’t mean that person who hurt you is free! Let God deal with that person, whichever way He likes. We are just ambassadors of the Kingdom! And Jesus is the King!

Next: The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard


  1. So rarely do I see the critical distinction made between forgiveness and reconciliation. Because we understand the need for cooperation to achieve reconciliation, we are far to inclined to think we're off the hook for forgiveness when we cannot reconcile. Glad to see you highlight this!

  2. I have also seen many Christians live broken lives as they thought reconciliation must be done to complete forgiveness. Tks for the comment!