What would Jesus do in the credit crunch?Oct 13th, 2008 | By Ian Poulton | Category: Ireland
What would Jesus do about banks that are forgiven huge sums of money, but then pursue people for sums that are a tiny fraction of the sums they have been forgiven? What would he do about banks that repossess people’s houses, leaving them with no home to live in?
There’s a parable in Matthew Chapter 18, verses 21 to 35 that seems fairly explicit about the treatment of those who have been forgiven, but refuse to forgive.
For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made.
So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt.
But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’
Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt.
When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me.
Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt.
So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
It always seemed a piece of hyperbole, an exaggeration to make a point. Ten thousand talents is five hundred thousand times one hundred denarii; no-one forgiven so much would pursue anyone who owed so little in comparison. This would be like someone who was forgiven fifty billion pursuing someone who owed them one hundred thousand, or someone who was forgiven five billion pursuing someone who owed them ten thousand, it would seem absurd.
Just how much have Irish banks been forgiven? And for what sums of money are they pursuing people through the courts?
The master in the story has the unforgiving servant thrown into prison; this is what Jesus says God is like. What line will the Government take towards unforgiving banks?