Unmerciful Servants and the Immigration Debate

Unmerciful Servants and the Immigration Debate January 4, 2019

The Christian life is about the management of the things God has entrusted us with. Everything we have has been given to us, and we are called to steward those resources in a way that honors our Creator. This includes things like our finances and the planet, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

The New Testament tells us that we must share the mercy and forgiveness we receive from God. We’re are not just beneficiaries of grace; we are stewards. Our lives should demonstrate that mercy actually does triumph over judgment.

This is a truth that’s completely missing from most evangelical discussions about immigration.

Lessons from an unmerciful servant

In Matthew 18, Peter asks Jesus how many times we should forgive others. Jesus offers a profound stewardship parable. It seems there’s a servant who owes his master a debt that—even if he lived a thousand lifetimes—he’d never be able to repay. When the master demands to be paid back, the servant begs for extra time.

In an act of unbelievable benevolence, the master completely cancels the debt.

For the first time, the servant leaves the master’s presence without the specter of debt hanging over his head. But then he immediately runs into a fellow servant who owes him a small amount of money, and he roughs the other servant up, demanding repayment.

Similar to the request the original servant made to his master, this man asks for more time to scrounge up the money to repay. But the servant who just experienced mercy refuses to extend it. He throws the other servant in debtor’s prison until the debt is paid off.

When the master finds out about how ungraciously the servant has behaved, he’s furious. Despite the abounding mercy the servant received, he is unable to extend kindness to others.

Contextually, Jesus is telling Peter (and us) that we are responsible for sharing the gifts God gives us. If we receive forgiveness, we are expected to extend it. If we are the beneficiaries of grace, we are to be benefactors, too.

To quote Jesus, “Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8b).

We who have so much

If you were born in the United States, you simply won the birth lottery. You might believe it to be an act of providence or a random act of chance, but it’s not because of anything you worked to achieve. You don’t deserve to be surrounded by plenty any more than an infant in Yemen deserves to die of hunger.

If the master is angry because the recipient of forgiveness can’t be bothered to extend it, how much angrier is he when those with excess erect walls to protect what they have from those who have nothing? He must be furious when folks who benefit from his blessings refuse to extend them.  

It often seems that Christians fetishize a strange hyper-spiritual view of grace that requires no real expression in the lives of Christ followers. God extends unwarranted benevolence to us, but we merely receive that generosity without feeling any responsibility to share it.

I’m sure the unmerciful servant would be able to come up with excuses for his lack of mercy, but it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter how well we demonize others or justify ourselves. The economy of the Kingdom of God is clear: freely you have received, freely give.  


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  • kim hamlin

    Good one sided article based upon the assumption that everyone one trying to enter the country is in need of mercy, compassion and a second chance. Unfortunately there are a number of people wanting to come into the USA that have well organized motives of destroying America. How do we conduct a vetting process to sift out those with ill intentions from those needing a new opportunity if we don’t have boundaries or a wall? Shaming people who believe that it is a right course of action to protect the citizens of the US from outside dangers doesn’t help your argument.

    I guess 911 was not enough of a wake up call for you.

  • Xavier de la Torre

    And there, ladies and gentlemen, is their excuse.

  • Jayson Bradley

    No one said that “everyone trying to enter the country is in need of mercy and compassion.” (I’m not sure what a second chance has to do with anything.) But there is definitely a problem if our default position is that everyone is a threat—which seems to be the tone of your comment and the position of wall supporters.

    If 9/11 was a wake-up call for any of us, we’d dramatically change our relationship with the Saudis—and quit selling them arms. But you must be under the assumption that those planes where chartered and flown by Mexicans or Central Americans. . .

  • jaystriggle

    It was Barack Obama who said we are no longer a Christian Nation. So why does the left use the idea of Christian mercies to be extended to others if we are in deed not a Christian nation any longer. Also we are supposed to be a nation of laws.. this was also echoed by Pres. Obama, but now the current left wants to ignore border laws that protect the sovereignty of our nation.

  • jaystriggle

    agreed sir, we need to protect our country from it’s enemies. I read an article that stated how many children are raped by illegal immigrants in North Carolina(not a border state at all.). and that they have raped many before being caught the first time. save our land, save our children, BUILD THE WALL…source:( NCFIRE. North Carolinians for Immigration and Reform and Enforcement )

  • Jayson Bradley

    Interesting question, especially considering the number of evangelicals that think they’re doing God’s work by supporting Trump. It’s to those people I’m speaking. But you’re entirely welcome to keep shoehorning Obama into conversations that have nothing to do with him to arrive at a completely unrelated point.

  • Jayson Bradley

    “I read an article that stated how many children are raped by illegal immigrants in North Carolina”

    When that number is in any way comparable to the numbers of violent and heinous acts of American citizens, you might have a case worth discussing. Otherwise it’s simply a case of looking for occasions to reinforce your hatred of immigrants.

  • kim hamlin

    As you must be under the impression that all those crossing the southern border are Mexicans or Southern Americans. You’re really missing the point here – using scripture and vivid descriptives like Christians fetishize (really?) … do nothing to persuade me that you really understand or care about the underlying issues associated with the border or nationals security.

  • Jayson Bradley

    Why is your concern that only dangerous people leak into the country via Mexico? Do you intend to put a wall between us and Canada? What about the coasts? How about around Florida? How about if we cover the whole country with a cloche?

  • jaystriggle

    The American citizens are just that Citizens… get it , they are here legally, we deal with them in a different way.. so you want to level the playing field by letting an equal number of non citizen rapist in ?

  • Ocelot Aardvark

    Perhaps you should read the US Constitution. According to the First Amendment of the US Constitution, we are a secular nation. Or government, according to the Law of our Land, is separate from any and ALL religions. This however, does NOT render the individual to be without “religion” or spirituality … but that’s what you on the alt-reich pretend when you stretch your outrageous lies to include everyone in your warped sense of patriotism.

    Perhaps you should also read the Scriptures to find out what God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ really said about our duty to, and treatment of, immigrants, refugees, sojourners, aliens, and strangers … especially those who are fleeing violence perpetrated by the United States.

    Dare you blatantly twist God’s Word to fit your own hate-filled racism and prejudice?

    Let’s start with some very basic and familiar verses … then go from there:

    • Matthew 22:36 and Mark 12:31

    “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”

    • Matthew 7:12 & Luke 6:31

    “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

    • Matthew 19:14

    “But Jesus said, ‘Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.'”

    • Micah 6:8

    “He hath shown thee oh man what is good, and what does the Lord require of thee, but to do justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God.”

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Furthermore, there is a plethora of Scripture which directly addresses the immigration issue:

    • Matthew 25:35

    “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,”

    • Jeremiah 22:3

    “Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.”

    • Exodus 22:21

    “You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.”

    • Hebrews 13:2

    “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

    • Zechariah 7:9-10

    “Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.”

    • Deuteronomy 27:19

    “Cursed be anyone who perverts the justice due to the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow.”

  • jaystriggle

    if the shoe horn fits wear it..

  • Brian Christensen

    I shoudnt share that most undocumented arrive by air….I dont think the wall would fit on the last flight I had…

  • jaystriggle

    nice, how many people do you let come in your house with out first vetting them at your door, or do you just leave all your doors open all day and night.. get it .. we need to vet them and not let them in unabated,,, ok ?

  • Brian Christensen
  • Jayson Bradley

    And we do.

  • Ocelot Aardvark

    The thing is that ICE is not “vetting” anyone at the border they’re ripping children out of their parent’s arms and putting those children in cages, denying them food, water and medical attention, due entirely to the demands of TЯ卐mp >—> the Beast!

    Furthermore, anyone coming to my door, seeking assistance or help would get as much assistance or help, to the degree that the Lord blessed me to give it.

    You lame excuses and imagined scenarios ain’t gonna do you any good on Judgment Day when you have to explain to the
    Lord Jesus why you were so cruel to the “least of those, His brothers and sisters”. – Matthew 25:40-45

  • Ocelot Aardvark

    The only ‘horns’ are on your own head and the head of your orange idol!

  • jaystriggle

    The thing is that ICE is not “vetting” anyone at the border they’re ripping children out of their parent’s arms and putting those children in cages, denying them food, water and medical attention, due entirely to the demands of TЯ卐mp >—> the Beast! this is a lie in so many ways,, you should be ashamed, where were you when Obama (shoehorn) did the same thing,, it happens every day in america when mothers break the law ans are imprisoned..

  • jaystriggle

    over 1 million babies a year are ripped from their mothers womb, and what is you stance on abortion sir ?

  • Ocelot Aardvark

    Can you TЯ卐mp -TOADS ever craft an argument without invoking the name of President Obama?

    This is all on your own fat-fascist-idol! President Obama is not in office anymore, so trying to put the crimes of the orange-oaf onto someone else doesn’t work. It’s all on TЯ卐mp now … including the deaths of those children who died in ICE detention.

    TЯ☭itor-TЯ卐mp – Child MURDERER!

  • jaystriggle

    Just pointing out two sets of standards for the different presidents.. O bama has a wall around his house.. dont you ?

  • Ocelot Aardvark

    Not “babies” until born and breathing. – Genesis 2:7

    Furthermore TOAD … your argument doesn’t work because even IF what you claim is valid, that still does NOT
    absolve TЯ卐mp from his cruelty and the murder of already born and breathing children! Nor you either.

  • Ocelot Aardvark

    And I’m just pointing out that you defend, condone, support and worship a cruel child murderer: TЯ卐mp >—> the Beast.

    And in doing so, you already have the Mark of the Beast in your forehead and hand … and you put it there yourself!

  • You might believe it to be an act of providence or a random act of chance, but it’s not because of anything you worked to achieve

    Because of this, many folks in Germany think national pride makes no sense.

    If the master is angry because the recipient of forgiveness can’t be bothered to extend it, how much angrier is he when those with excess erect walls to protect what they have from those who have nothing?

    A rabbinic midrash claims that a city named Sodom did something similar: that their streets were paved with gold (hmmm) and that they flooded the approaches to their city to restrict immigrants. (Also noticed the xenophobic comments they made to Lot when he wouldn’t let them gang rape the angels, Gen. 19:9.)

  • Ok, then, should states vet everyone who crosses a state line, and cities everyone who enters the city limits? If not, what is the difference with a national border. (After all, is there any evidence those on the opposite side are any more dangerous than those on our side? Are immigrants likely to be any more dangerous than WASPs?)

  • The wrongness of abortion does not make what Trump does ok; this is a non sequitur argument. (Also, consider that Shane Claiborne is pro-life, and he’s opposed to Trump’s policies.)

  • Innocent until proven guilty! It is in both the Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (Besides, the same rape alarmism was used by white supremacists against African-Americans.)

  • Dax Williams

    Goalposts fading fading to the left no no definitely the right .They’re colored black no they’re fading to brown.

  • Bernadette Rene Reynolds

    In my opinion, we are poor stewards of caring for our widows, orphans, hungry, homeless, sick and poor.
    We should take care of these children of God before we take on more. I am a servant of our Father and cannot find resources to help those who are in desperate need here. Some of which are immigrants. If we cannot help those that are already here what makes us think we can help more??

    My family are immigrants from WWII. They had to apply for assylum and citizenship. There is a reason for that and that is that all follow the laws not bring their own. This is why God and prayer are taken out of everything from praying at sporting events to out pledge of allegiance. This is one nation formed “UNDER GOD” those who are desperate to come here are offended by that. We will never be a great country until we are goid stewards to those who are suffering here before we become even more unmanageable. Those who serve our country deserve to be cared for and aren’t. Polititions are getting rich off of those they are supposed to serve and voting in special privileges that they were never supposed to have. If they would go back to the way this country was intended to run and actually work for a living and bringing themselves down to our level we would have the money for medical care, housing, mental healrh and addiction treatment for all. THEN we would have the resources to help EVERYONE.

  • Alexandra

    If your family came as refugees after World War II, the only reason that they were able to do so was because the law was changed specifically to let WWII refugees come in. We could change our current law to get rid of some of the mindles restrictions that were included in the 1997 ;aw, but we choose not do so so. Shame on us.

  • Ocelot Aardvark

    The United States is by far, the richest country on Earth … and the most wasteful. There is NO shortage of resources to take care of our own veterans, disabled, handicapped, infirm, widows, orphans, the poor, seniors, and children. The problem is there is no monetary profit to be made or political will (human decency) to help people in need.

    Furthermore, there’d still be plenty of resources left to take care of those refugees, seeking asylum, from war-torn countries, where the United States is responsible for initially initiating and continuing the violence, which causes these refugees to seek escape and asylum.

    Take for instance, the amount of food thrown out, in dumpsters behind EVERY supermarket in the country. In the capitalist-profiteer’s mind, it’s better to throw out good food (even before the due date is reached) than to use it to feed the needy. That way, food can remain at an escalated price, while getting a tax break for the stuff they were ‘forced’ to discard.

    Just try to buy a ripe banana … they’re all thrown out as soon as they turn a bit yellow and get a single ‘spot’ on the skin. Little do these greedy profiteers know that bananas taste the best when there are the a few ‘spots’ and ‘dots’ on their peels.

    Anyhow, I’m sickened at how Christians seek any justification to refuse help to the poor, handicapped, disabled, infirm, widows, orphans, elderly and children. The whole “nation of laws” and “one nation under God” memes are selfish rationalizations, to deny helping refugees seeking asylum … and are just more hypocrites looking to shirk their Christian duty to those less fortunate!

  • ounbbl

    Won by lottery? Freely we received? The bible is not something to look for quotable verses and make slogans for your agenda, religious or political. Maybe you can, but we cannot be all to all. Why don’t call and have all come and enter this United States to make a paradise; someone like the Hellary Foundation demon can hand out something; they will give a plenty of votes they want. If it is not from a Christian, this posting can be forgiven and ignored. shameless!

  • Max

    I AM a so-called unfriendly servant because 1) I’m not a xristian, ad 2) I’m a Nietzchean and a Fascist and I wish Trump’s glory would hurry in.

  • Max

    What? Of course we want to protect our own borders and OF COURSE the invaders are hostile. Why pretend? They want what we have and I for one, will only let them have it as they’re unpaid slaves.

  • Max

    Well, you answered your own nigger-loving your question. God I hate niggers!

  • Max

    The Jews can eat my NAZI shit. Fuck you little cunt pussy.

  • Max

    I’m a gay atheist, a hot fascist who believes only in the sexy bodies of gods, and pleasure so you can little pussy cunts can all go beg for it….

  • Max

    Who cares how it got here? Blond cock is blond cock, and Aryan muscles!

  • Brenda Finnegan

    Under God? The meaning of that phrase is not what you think it is. The Pledge of Allegiance underwent many revisions as it evolved from 1892 to 1954. It was not until the final version of the Pledge in 1954 that the phrase “under God” was added. In 1948, Mr. Louis Bowman lifted the phrase from Lincoln’s Gettysburg address [“that the nation shall, under God, have a new birth of freedom”] and inserted it in the current wording. But he misunderstood the meaning of the phrase that Lincoln extemporaneously added to his remarks. The closest phrase in use today in meaning to “under God” is “God willing.” It is prayer, a request, a hope that God will bless and this nation. It is not intended as a statement of fact, or a boastful reminder of how “special” we are. Please stop using these 2 simple words as a banner claiming this is a “Christian” nation. It never has been. Occasionally Christians have been its leaders, but it was not by design.

  • Ivan T. Errible

    Suppose you don’t believe in god; why do this?
    And if you have arguments for doing this without god, why bother with religion?

  • Ivan T. Errible

    The Gospel according to Thomas (of Finland)?