In Matthew 18, Jesus tells two parables.
One parable is of a loving shepherd who seeks a lost sheep at great cost and rejoices when the wayward lamb comes home. Jesus says, “This is what your Heavenly Father is like.”
The other parable tells of a generous master who forgives a servant of an unpayable debt and how that servant refuses to show forgiveness to someone else who owes him far less. The master then recalls the forgiven servant, reinstates his debt and throws him into the dungeon to be punished for his refusal to extend to others the gift that was given to him. Then Jesus says, “This is also what your Heavenly Father is like.”
So, which is it? Can they both be true?
Jesus says yes.
Recognize God’s great love for you in the heart of the shepherd and rejoice! You are far more loved than you can imagine.
Then recognize God’s expectation of you in the action of the master and don’t forgot that God’s grace comes with a condition. The condition is that we learn to treat others as lovingly as God has treated us.
This is not about “earning” God’s love. It’s about verifying that we’ve received it deeply enough to be changed by it.
So, rest and rejoice in God’s love, and remember, that which you have received, you must now pass on to others.