The main point of the parable, however, is not the enormity of the debt forgiven the first servant, but the failure of that servant to treat his neighbour in the light of the forgiveness he himself had just received. It is a striking image of one of Jesus' central teachings: that we are to forgive others as we have been forgiven by our heavenly Father.
Yet listening to this parable in church last Sunday made me wonder: the image is financial; is the application also financial? That is, when Jesus warns against a failure to cancel the debts of one who cannot repay us and says that God will not forgive us if we do not forgive others, is he only talking about moral or relational debts? Are actual monetary debts excluded? I see no reason that they should be. And Jesus isn't talking about restructuring bad debts, or recovering what can be recovered. The entire debt is forgiven.
This is a profound teaching and would, it seems to me, effectively make it impossible for a Christian who takes the teaching of Christ seriously to work at any of the major banks. Thoughts?
I also cannot see how a Christian can work in (much of) the advertising industry either, but that is for other reasons and is perhaps a post for another day.