The Quality of Mercy

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#23: “The Quality of Mercy”
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April 23, 1988 ↓
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Matthew 18:21-25

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.

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La calidad de la misericordia
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The Quality of Mercy

“The Quality of Mercy” is episode #23 of the Adventures in Odyssey audio series. It was written by Paul McCusker, and originally aired on April 23, 1988.


Ten-year-old troublemaker Scott Williams is let off the hook when he is caught trying to steal apples from Tom Riley. Unfortunately, Scott doesn't extend the same mercy to others.


The city is Odyssey. Young Scott Williams is nabbed by Officer David Harley for trying to steal apples from Tom Riley's farm. Scott breaks a fence in the process, and Tom figures the damage comes to about $30. Scott professes poverty and begs Tom to forgive the debt, which Tom does.

But instead of passing the favor along, Scott immediately hunts down Robbie Holt and demands repayment of a $2 loan. Robbie only has $1, so Scott throttles him and pushes him into a stack of garbage cans. Tom Riley hears of this and has Officer Harley find Scott and bring him back to the farm.

Once there, Tom tells Scott to fix the fence and pick up all the apples around the area to pay back the debt he owes Tom. Scott protests that Tom said the debt was clear! It isn't fair! But Tom says he's being as fair with Scott as Scott was with Robbie Holt. When Tom adds that Scott's father agrees, Scott 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.



  • This episode would later be remade as #115: “An Act of Mercy”, with Rodney Rathbone (appropriately) replacing Scott Williams and Bart Rathbone replacing Bill Williams.
  • This was the first episode featuring the title Adventures in Odyssey so as to not alienate fans outside of the United States. Later, most of the first 22 episodes had the wraparounds changed from Odyssey USA to Adventures in Odyssey as well.
  • Along with the title change, this episode marked the first time Chris started signing off as "Chris" rather than "Chris Lansdowne," as she had done in previous episodes.
  • This is the first episode that the show writers dubbed a "parallel parable," an AIO story that parallels a parable in the Bible.
  • This episode is the first show where another character (in this case, Tom) does the teaching instead of Whit.
  • This episode is only available to members of the Adventures in Odyssey Club.


Connie Kendall: Say, Mr. Riley, I heard about the excitement out at your place this morning.
Tom Riley: Excitement?
Connie Kendall: Yeah, Nicky Creshaw heard from Steve Perry that Michael Turner was over at Thelma Gardner's, who said that she saw seven police cars, a fire truck, and an ambulance with the sirens going full blast pull out on to your road!
Tom Riley: Well, that... that was nothing. Officer Harley caught Scott Williams going through some of my apples.

David Harley: Okay, I'll whistle for him. <shouting> Yoo-hoo! Scott!

David Harley: Uh, oh. I know that tone on your face.