“As for your birth, on the day you were born your navel cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water for cleansing; you were not rubbed with salt or even wrapped in cloths. No eye looked with pity on you to do any of these things for you, to have compassion on you. Rather you were thrown out into the open field, for you were abhorred on the day you were born. When I passed by you and saw you squirming in your blood, I said to you while you were in your blood, ‘Live!’ Yes, I
said to you while you were in your blood, ‘Live!’ ” Ezekiel 16:4-6.
“For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. But since
he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.’ And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt. But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe.’ So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, ‘Have pa
tience with me and I will repay you.’ But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed. So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened. Then summoning him, his lord said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave y
ou all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?’ And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.” Matthew 18:21-35.
Like Israel in Ezekiel, God found us abandoned and unwanted, separated by our sins from God and filthy from them. Through faith in Him He cleaned us up and took us into the family of God even though there was nothing desirable about us. God said to us “live” and eternal life was given to us. He had mercy on us that was entirely undeserved even when we were still filthy in our sins (Romans 5:8).
In the same way it is commanded of us to have mercy on others – even those who treat us badly. As the parable in Matthew illustrates we should have mercy and forgiveness on those that owe us comparably small debts as Christ has had mercy and forgiven much greater debts we owe Him. God warns us in this and other passages that to expect His mercy and forgiveness we need to extend mercy and forgiveness to others.