An Act of Mercy

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#115: “An Act of Mercy”
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Matthew 18:21-35

21Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?"

22Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. 23"Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. 25Since 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. 26"The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.' 27The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. 28"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. 29"His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.' 30"But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. 32"Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' 34In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

35"This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."

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An Act of Mercy

“An Act of Mercy” is episode #115 of the Adventures in Odyssey audio series. It was written and directed by Paul McCusker, and originally aired on June 16, 1990.


After Tom Riley forgives Rodney Rathbone for breaking a fence and stealing apples, Rodney does not pass on that forgiving spirit.


Rodney Rathbone is nabbed by Officer Patrick O'Ryan for trying to steal apples from Tom Riley's farm. Rodney breaks a fence in the process, and Tom figures the damage comes to about $30. Rodney professes poverty and begs Tom to forgive the debt, which Tom does. But instead of passing the favor along, Rodney immediately hunts down Peter Holt and demands repayment of a $2 loan. Peter only has $1, so Rodney throttles him and pushes him into a stack of garbage cans.

Tom Riley hears of this and has Officer O'Ryan find Rodney and bring him back to the farm. Once there, Tom tells Rodney to fix the fence and pick up all the apples around the area to pay back the debt he owes Tom. Rodney protests that Tom said the debt was clear! It isn't fair! But Tom says he's being as fair with Rodney as Rodney was with Peter Holt. When Tom adds that Rodney's father agrees, Rodney realizes that he's run out of appeals. He groans loudly, then picks up the hammer and nails and begins making restitution.

This plot section is too short and should be expanded. »

Discussion Questions

  1. What does it mean to forgive someone?
  2. How many times does Jesus say to forgive your neighbor?
  3. Describe a time you have shown, or failed to show, someone mercy.



VERSION DIFFERENCE: [view] The broadcast version of this episode features Chris talking to Dave Arnold about her car—that he drove into a telephone pole. Chris calls him a "car-basher" when she reads the wraps.

  • This episode is a remake of #23: “The Quality of Mercy”. While Patrick O'Ryan replaces Officer Harley in this version, the two character actually share many lines that were found offensive on Harley. However, it is very obvious that O'Ryan is kidding as opposed to being stupid.
  • This is Bart Rathbone's first episode.
  • Rodney calls Bart "Dad" instead of "Pop." This was most likely because the running joke where Rodney calls Bart "Pop" and Bart dislikes the nickname had apparently not yet been established.
  • You can't actually play the best three out of four, four out of five, six out of seven, or seven out of eight, as Connie and Whit joke about in this episode.
  • A much-noted goof of this episode is that O'Ryan calls Bart Rathbone "Bill." This is apparently because in "#23: “The Quality of Mercy”" (the episode being remade) the original father's name was Bill. Apparently this line was overlooked in the rewrite. Later in the episode, Whit calls Bart by his actual name.



John Whittaker: Ha! Gotcha!
Connie Kendall: What? How did you do that? Where did... Oh! I set you up, it's all part of my plan.
John Whittaker: Well, if your plan is to lose, you're doing a pretty good job!
Connie Kendall: Well, it's not over till it's over, MISTER Whittaker!

Patrick O'Ryan: Thanks for your cooperation, Bill.
Bart Rathbone: It’s my pleasure. After everything Tom Riley told me, I think this’ll be a good lesson for the kid.

Rodney Rathbone: Every time adults talk about principles, I get in trouble.

Tom Riley: Peter, you look like you got hit by a garbage truck!
Peter Holt: Just one can.