“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king ...” (Matthew 18:23-35)

“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded. His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.” (Matthew 18:23-35)

What does this parable of the talents mean?

Jesus' parable of the talents is about forgiveness. Forgiveness, it turns out, has a circular quality.

Let’s be clear about forgiveness. If we were to do wrong to a friend named Robert, could we effectively seek forgiveness from another friend, say named Bill? Could Bill forgive us for something we did to Robert? Certainly not. We must ask forgiveness from the person we wronged.

So mistreating others is not the main activity the Supreme Being has forgiven us for. Certainly, the Supreme Being is offended for our mistreatment of others. But He has set up a perfect mechanism within the physical world that automatically rectifies our mistreatments of others, and we are directly involved in that learning scenario:

Everyone repays their debts for transgressions made upon others, either in this lifetime or in the next. This is God's perfect system of cause-and-effect consequence learning ("as you sow, so shall you reap").

But in Jesus' parable, the servant is in debt to the king, and the king forgave those debts. What did we do to the Supreme Being that requires His forgiveness?

Each of us became self-centered and decided that we didn’t want to love the Supreme Being or care for His children anymore. Instead, we sought His power and authority.

This is the original sin.

This truly hurt Him. Imagine, if you had a spouse, child or friend that you cared for greatly. At one point, out of the blue, they just told you that they didn’t care for you anymore, and they were leaving you. That would hurt, wouldn't it?

Does God have feelings?

Yes. The Supreme Being is hurt when we reject or ignore Him. He is strong, but He is also soft-hearted.

He is not hurt for Himself though. He is hurt for us. It is an empathetic hurt.

Because the Supreme Being loves us - before we even ask for it, He forgives us. He still loves us whether we love Him or not. And His hurt is the pain He feels when we are suffering.

Furthermore, while we have been away from Him, we have continued to ignore Him. Some even insult Him. Some of us have blasphemed His Name. Some have told others that He doesn’t exist. These are truly insults against Him.

And we continue to use what belongs to the Supreme Being (the material things around us, including our bodies) while claiming these things belong to us.

Yet He still forgives us. He is pained by our suffering - not having the loving relationship that makes us whole.

This is a very humbling experience - to realize just how graceful and beautiful the Supreme Being is while we continue to insult Him and forlorn Him. How loving He is, through thick and thin. He loves us unconditionally and does not want to see us suffer.

He forgives us, but relationships must work both ways. Forgiveness must also work both ways for there to be a relationship.

Consider in Jesus' parable, how the master turned the servant over to the jailer after the servant would not forgive others of their debts after he forgave his servant's debts.

The Supreme Being also has a jail system: It is this physical dimension, and our jail cells are these physical bodies.

If God forgives us, why is there so much suffering?

Many people wonder: If God is so loving and forgiving, why is there so much suffering in the world?

Sadly, this question is not being answered by many sectarian institutions.

For this reason, many reject the Supreme Being's existence. They cannot conceive of a reason why there would be suffering if there is a forgiving and merciful God.

They simply are not seeing the entire picture.

Yes, the Supreme Being has set up a precise system of justice here in this physical dimension. But we are the ones who dole out the justice - upon ourselves. We are the ones who create our consequences - by what we do.

It is like a thief who is jailed for stealing. The thief is the one who made the decision to steal, not the judge or the prison system. The judge and prison system are set up to protect the rest of the population from thieves and other criminals. To blame the judge and the prison system for the thief's decision is short-sighted.

Justice is the process of learning. If we do something that harms another, our justice is experiencing the harm that we committed to someone else. That is a learning experience, one that ultimately we decide for ourselves to learn.

There are two critical points we must remember about God's perfect learning and rehabilitation system:

1) These bodies are not us. These bodies are temporary physical shells - like the cars we drive - that we use for a while. The physical world gives us the illusion that we are these bodies in order for us to learn from a blank slate. We are only in these bodies temporarily, and each of us is spiritual in composition, remotely operating the body much as a driver operates an automobile.

2) The physical world and these bodies are set up for learning. Here we can help others or cause harm upon others - resulting in our being helped or our being harmed. This is to encourage us to learn to love. To care about others.

Just as a computer game persona (or icon) might experience the results of activities within the computer program game that carries over to successive plays, these physical bodies were designed to reflect the decisions and activities we have made in this temporary body or in a previous temporary body.

This is why Jesus' disciples asked Jesus:
His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" (John 9:2)
This question assumes that Jesus had taught his disciples that our current situation is the result of either his prior activities or his parents' prior activities. Because it is a perfect system, where both the prior activities of the parents and the child come together to determine the health of the child, sometimes a parent's prior activity will create a particular issue inborn in the child.

At the same time, the child will still have the defect to balance his own previous activities. At the end of the day, each physical body is put into the precise situation that is deserved from our previous situations: "As we sow, so shall we reap."

We have created most of the suffering that exists in the world among temporary physical bodies. Yes, there is still pain, disease, and death here. But we have, as societies and as individuals, created the situations we are in today: Created here and in our previous lifetimes.
The key to the exit is to learn to love and forgive others, and learn to love God.

This was Jesus' primary teaching.