Gilbert Meilaender on Matthew 18:21-35 (The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant)

The gifts of God are always available. His grace knows no limit. But this God, when he gives freely, says: “freely you have received, freely give.” Not everyone wants to be around a Lord like that. Not everyone wants to be grateful. The unforgiving servant was happy enough to be around the master when he was forgiven his debt. He didn’t really want to be around him all the time, though; for he didn’t want to live an entire life shaped by the pattern of gift and gratitude. This is the way of life in God’s kingdom, its rule of existence: freely you have received, freely give. That servant liked the free receiving, but not the free giving. Which meant: he didn’t really want to live in that kingdom. Maybe there wasn’t much the master could do for him.

from The Theory and Practice of Virtue, (UofNotreDame Press, 1984), 154.

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