If you have ever had a fine then you will know you can settle the matter now or leave it and when you get to court it could be even worse for you.
“Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.” (Matthew 5 v 25-26)
Jesus tells another story.
When things go wrong and you don’t try and reconcile they can get even worse.
This story is more severe than the previous.
Jesus says if you don’t do anything you can end up in a debtor’s prison, the Gentiles would understand that from the Roman culture, perhaps not so much the Jew. It is impossible to pay the fine in a debtor’s prison as you cannot earn money. It is left to the family to pay the fine to get the debtor released. They were abolished in the UK in 1869. Charles Dickens’ book ‘Little Dorrit’ was inspired from his childhood when aged 12yrs he had to work at a shoe-polish factory to raise money because his father was imprisoned in 1824 for failing to pay a local baker £40.
The point of Jesus’ story is that if we leave things unreconciled then the offence will remain and increase enough to destroy completely.
Are we to blame?
If we are to blame then we must do all we can to reconcile. The Message translation says, ‘Make the first move.’
Who will apologise first? For most often than not the other person is also to blame.
There will be times when reconciliation is impossible because the other person may not want to. But failure in reconciliation is not the same as failing to try.
So is there anyone today you can at least try with?