Based on Matthew 18:21-35
There once was a guy that was into his bookie for $10,000. He had a gambling problem and the problem was that he always lost at gambling! One day, on his way home from work, he ran into two very scary men. They invited the man to join them in their car. The man knew that the invitation wasn’t an option. For he knew exactly who these two guys worked for. So, in the car he went.
Upon arriving at a luxury building downtown, the man was escorted through the lobby to the elevator. The “Penthouse” button was pushed and for what seemed to be an eternity, the elevator went up and up and up. The man began to sweat and to feel as if he was going to pass out. The two scary men, who were accompanying him, simply looked straight ahead with their hands neatly folded in front of their wastes. They paid no attention to this man’s obvious declining condition.
When the elevator doors opened, he found himself greeted by a Butler who asked for his coat. As he turned over his coat he could see the picturesque view of the city from the penthouse windows. There was music playing, the lights were dim and this man was sure that all of this would be the last thing that he would ever see.
From around the corner came his bookie. He wrapped the man in a hug, stepped back and then cupped his cheeks in his hands and stated, “Welcome to my home.” The man followed his bookie into the living room. He was offered a drink, which he accepted for he would have done anything to take the edge off of this already tense situation.
The bookie invited him to take a seat on the couch. As he looked around the room, sizing up the location of his last moments of life, his bookie said, “You know why I have invited you into my home, don’t you?” To which the man nervously answered, “I think so.” “You think so?” the bookie said with a laugh.
He went on, “Do you think that I’m able to afford this lifestyle, by letting people I do business with steal money from my family?” Somewhat confused, the man looks around the room, and then says, “Of course not. You are a wise and powerful man.” “I’m glad to hear you say that” the bookie retorted. “For I can’t expect to provide this kind of life for my family, of whom I love very much, while letting my business associates steal from me.”
In that moment, flop sweat begins to roll down the man’s face. He gulps the entire glass of whiskey that he has been holding. He wipes his brow and looks around the room one more time. Then, in complete and utter desperation, he throws himself onto the floor and grabs ahold of the bookie’s feet. He is weeping as he begs for mercy. “Please don’t kill me. Give me another chance. I will get your money.”
The bookie takes the man by his shoulders and lifts him to his feet. He, once again, grabs booth of his cheeks and holds his face in his hands. And he says, “I like you. And you have caught me on a particularly good day. So, here’s what I’m going do for you. I’m going to wipe your slate clean. As of right now, you don’t owe me a dime.”
Stunned and amazed, wondering if he has heard the bookie’s words correctly, the man simply starts crying and thanks him over and over again. As he is leaving the penthouse the man simply keeps repeating, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”
Back down the elevator he goes. This time all alone. The doors open in the lobby and the man makes his way out to the street, to continue his journey home. As he rounds the corner, the words of his bookie still in his ears, he sees someone walking toward him that just-so-happens to owe him ten bucks. The man, without even thinking about it, accosts this man and demands his ten bucks. When this second man admits that he can’t pay him his ten bucks and asks for forgiveness, the first man commences to beating him senseless and leaving him for dead on the sidewalk.
What this man didn’t know is that the two scary guys, who had picked him up earlier, had followed him out of the building. They were watching to see how this man would respond to being forgiven such a big debt. Well, now they knew. He almost killed a guy over ten bucks!
They went back up to the penthouse and told the bookie what they had seen. The bookie sent them immediately back out to scoop up this man, once again. This time, there was no Butler, no dimmed lighting, no music playing and no glass of aged whiskey. There was simply a very disappointed bookie. He said, “I forgave your debt of $10,000 because you begged me to. Then you turned around and beat a man half to death over ten dollars?” The man just stood there, for he could say nothing in his defense. What he had done was reprehensible.
So, the bookie told the man that the two scary guys were going to beat him up, just like he had beaten up the other man. And then he informed this man that they would return every week in order to beat him up some more. That is, until he paid back every penny of the $10,000 debt.