What is the response of the Christian when he or she faces wrongdoing?
Dr. Jay Jackson, assistant dean for students and assistant professor of pharmacy practice in the Lloyd L. Gregory School of Pharmacy, tackled that question during chapel on Monday when he preached on the parable of the unforgiving servant. Jackson, who completed both his undergraduate and Doctor of Pharmacy studies at PBA, will speak again in chapel 11 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday. Jackson was the first of a series of Black chapel speakers in celebration of Black History Month.
The question is not how to avoid wrongdoing – that’s impossible in a broken, sinful world, Jackson said – but how to respond when another person wrongs you because of the color of your skin, where you came from or what you look like.
Although Jackson prayed to put his faith in Jesus as a child, it was learning to truly follow Jesus and become like Jesus as a young man that set him free, he said.
“It set me free from offense and unforgiveness,” Jackson said.
The parable of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18 begins with Peter asking Jesus how many times he should forgive someone who has wronged him, where to “draw the line.” While Peter’s suggestion of seven times is more than the Jewish law would require, it’s significantly less than Jesus’ answer of 77 times, Jackson pointed out.
Jesus goes on to tell the story of a servant who owed a king a debt that he could never repay. The servant pleads for mercy, and the king takes pity on the servant and forgives his debt. But the servant then goes to another servant who owes him a much smaller sum and violently demands payment. The other servants get angry and tell the king what took place.
“Jesus is referring to the debt we owe God because of our sin,” Jackson said. “Whatever sin someone has committed against us doesn’t even compare to the ways we’ve sinned against God.”
Instead of rejoicing at the mercy shown him by the king, the unforgiving servant allowed his debtor to steal the joy of his salvation.
“The answer is mercy,” Jackson said. “We’re not just called to receive His love. We’re not just called to receive His mercy. We’re called to become His love. We’re called to become His mercy.”
Jackson concluded by showing a clip of Brandt Jean extending love and forgiveness to the Dallas police officer who shot and killed Jean’s brother. The officer, Amber Guyger, was convicted of murder and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
“I know if you go to God and ask Him, He will forgive you,” said Brandt Jean, who hugged the officer as she sobbed.
Photo 1: Dr. Jay Jackson, a PBA alum and assistant dean in the Lloyd L. Gregory School of Pharmacy, preaches on the parable of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18 in chapel on Monday, Feb. 1, 2021.
Photo 2: Dr. Jay Jackson demonstrates praying for those who have wronged him during his chapel message based on the parable of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18.