PRAYER FOR THE WEEK
Jesus, teach me to use the good things in my life as reminders to be good to other people! Amen.


Peter asked, "Lord, if someone hurts me, how many times should I forgive them? Seven?" "No, 77 times!" Jesus answered. Then He told this story: "A man owed a king money and couldn't pay. The king forgave him. Then the man went to a servant who owed him money, and said, 'Pay me!' When the servant couldn't, the man put him in jail. The king heard this and told the man, 'I forgave you, but you wouldn't forgive him!' And he threw the man in jail."

"Pay it forward" has become a slogan lots of people use. It means that, when good things happen to you -- especially something a kind person did for you -- you're supposed to do kind things for other people in turn. "Pay it forward" means, "Keep the kindness going."

Jesus could have invented the slogan. In this week's Gospel (Matthew 18:21-35), the story He tells is about that exact idea.

Everyone gets excited about receiving good things. If your parents buy you a smoothie or a friend surprises you with a bear hug when you're feeling sad, it's great!

That's how the man in Jesus' story felt. He owed money and thought he'd go to jail, but the king forgave him! He was really excited.

When something good has happened in your life, that doesn't mean everyone else you meet is having a great day. You might have a huge smile on your face at the moment you see another person who's struggling. It can be tempting to say, "Hey, I'm in a good mood. Don't be downer," or just avoid the person.

That's what Jesus' story was about. The king in the story is God, and the man is us. We often get blessings from God, and we're tempted to just enjoy them but not share them. Jesus said it's unfair to expect God to treat us well, but then turn around and treat other people badly.

In the story, the man who didn't pay it forward went to jail. You can do better than him!