Cole had three plastic action figures. Chloe wanted them, but Cole had them first. As any lawyer will tell you, possession is 9/10ths of the law. However, to broker peace in the household, I asked Cole to share one of them with Chloe.
He was willing, but Chloe wanted them all. To express her desires clearly for all to see, she fell to the floor in a crying fit.
A few minutes later, Amy asked Cole if he'd give all of the figurines to Chloe when he was done with them. Immediately he said, "I'm done." He hopped up and took them to Chloe. Now Chloe had all three figurines, and Cole had none.
Testing a theory, I asked Chloe if she would give one of the figurines back to Cole.
She flatly refused.
In my opinion, Cole had shown grace. Chloe had not. It reminded me of Jesus' Parable of the Unmerciful Servant (Matthew 18:23-35). In the parable, there was a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. He called in a servant who owed him a large amount of money (some biblical scholars calculate the amount at millions of present-day dollars). There was no way the servant would be able to pay.
As the servant begged for more time, the king had mercy on him and forgave the debt completely. Then the servant left the king's presence.
As he went along, he came across another servant who owed him some money. It was just a few dollars by present-day standards, but the first servant was unwilling to show the same mercy on the second servant as the king had shown him. He mistreated the second servant and had him thrown in jail until he repaid the debt.
It's sad, isn't it? Someone who had been forgiven of so much was unable to forgive another of so little. Someone who had received such an enormous amount of grace was unable to extend a small amount of grace to someone else.
Perhaps there's someone in your life who needs some grace. Perhaps there's someone in your life who has come to you, seeking forgiveness for something they've done and you're having trouble giving it to them.
Can I make a suggestion? Forgive them. No matter what they've done, it's no comparison to the sin debt we owed our heavenly father. It's nothing compared to the life of his son, Jesus Christ, whom he gave so that we could be forgiven.
God has been so gracious to us. Let us now be gracious to others.
Parrish Myers is a local minister. His column appears biweekly in Sunday Life and on gainesvilletimes.com/life.