Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made.The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.
“But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took himby the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his feetand begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all. And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt.
So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.
In the parable, no one would have faulted the servant for collecting his money if the master had first collected from the servant. Everyone would have played by the same rules. But it’s a very different thing for a person – like the servant – to benefit from grace and then refuse to extend that same grace to anyone else.
It’s also interesting to point out that the amount owed by the servant to the master – 10,000 talents – far exceeded the amount owed to the servant by his fellow servant – a hundred denarii. If memory serves, a denarius was a good day’s pay for a laborer, and something like one thousand denarii equalled a talent. In other words, the master forgave the servant an amount equal to one hundred thousand day’s pay. The servant then refused to forgive an amount equal to one hundred days pay.
So, I hope religious right wingers who denigrate the idea of special rights when the subject is adding sexual status to anti-discrimination laws have been reading this week’s New York Times series on the amazing number of “special rights” enjoyed by religious people.
If you want to argue that no-one should have special rights, that’s fine. But if you benefit more than anyone else from special rights, well, do as you would be done by, and all that stuff.