Passage – Matthew 18:21-35
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus 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. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. 25 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. 26 “The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The 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. 31 When 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. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In 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.”
The Unmerciful Servant
As we live our lives how we conduct ourselves is a key part of introducing other to Jesus.
Example is important
How we deal with forgiveness maybe one the most powerful example we have. As others see the depth of our ability to forgive it gives us opportunity to show and talk about the forgiveness that is available through Jesus.
Would do you feel as you read verse 31:
31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.
Imagine this man had allow himself to live in the power of the grace and forgiveness that had been shown to him.
Had he forgiven the other servant what would that example have said to all those who watched on, could it have led to a cascade and out pouring of grace and forgiveness in the whole of that household.
Because of his inability to forgive we see distress, anger and suffering.
Jesus taught us in the Lord’s Prayer
Matthew 6:12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 3 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’
Then he said:
14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Un-forgiveness lead us into temptation, it is the way of the evil one
We follow Jesus and like Jesus love beyond.
How do the verses below encourage us us to love beyond?
An Eye for an Eye
Matthew 5:38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ 39 But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41 If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
Love for Enemies
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
As we do this love beyond in the power of grace and forgiveness it gives us opportunities
Opportunity: To be a good neighbour
Opportunity: To speak into the culture and understand the culture
Opportunity: To share our stories of faith
We remember that Hunting people Hurt
We must be radical. We must go to the root, remove that which is festering, cleanse and cauterize, and then a new beginning is a possibility. Forgiveness gives us the capacity to make a new start. That is the power, the rationale, of confession and forgiveness. It is to say, “I have fallen but I am not going to remain there. Please forgive me.” And forgiveness is the grace by which you enable the other person to get up, and get up with dignity, to begin anew. Not to forgive leads to bitterness and hatred, which, just like self-hatred and self-contempt, gnaw away at the vitals of one’s being. Whether hatred is projected out or projected in, it is always corrosive of the human spirit.Tutu, Desmond. God Has A Dream (pp. 53-54). Ebury Publishing. Kindle Edition.
When we begin to realize that God loves us with our weakness, with our vulnerability, with our failures, we can begin to accept them as an inevitable part of our human life. We can love others—with their failures—when we stop despising ourselves—because of our failures. We can begin to have compassion for ourselves and see that even our sinfulness is our acting out of our own suffering. Then we can see that others’ sinfulness is their own acting out of their suffering.Tutu, Desmond. God Has A Dream (pp. 39-40). Ebury Publishing. Kindle Edition.
- Why are they lashing out?
- What is their pain?
- What idol are they struggling with?
- What is the sin issue?
Our role is to bring hope
Others see, what do they see?
How we deal with forgiveness maybe one of the most powerful witnesses we have. As others see the depth of our ability to forgive it gives us opportunity to show and talk about the forgiveness that is available through Jesus.
The challenge of us living in of the power of God’s grace and our forgiveness through Jesus.
Let us be a life changing example to those around us.
Questions to consider for personal study or in Life Groups.
- MERCY is not getting what you do deserve & GRACE is getting what you don’t deserve. Where do you see these in the story and what’s interesting about them? What might it take to offer these to others? What does it mean to truly receive them?
- What do you think it means to forgive someone from the HEART? (v35). How could this practically play out in someones life? (The word used for heart is ‘kardia’ referring to it not as an organ but as the centre of the personality, controlling the intellect, emotions, and will. It can be thought of as the ‘control centre’ of who you are).
- In our world and lives, what ways do you see FORGIVENESS being important when it comes to INTRODUCING OTHERS to Jesus?
As I reflect what have I found interesting?
As I reflect what has challenged my life, attitudes and actions?
Is there one practical step I can apply to my life to help me to become more like Jesus?
How would this help me to introduce others to Jesus?
Is there there anything I need to pray about, explore further or extra help I need?
Is there someone I should share with, pray with or encourage?