Everyone gets offended. Lately it seems like it happens at every turn. I am offended. This offends me.I remember when I was younger, I had issues with self-control stemming from my AdHd, and I had difficulty relating to others. I found myself often blurting out things and my words would offend others and resulted in many awkward moments. I had great difficulty making real friends, and some things I said were held against me. Two stories I remember not-so-fondly from my childhood include my encounter with an overweight nurse while getting burn treatment for my arm, and an episode with a relative regarding cigarette smoking. Some of my words never were forgotten or forgiven, despite my lack of understanding the issue with them.
Over the years, I have learned more about self-control. I have made many changes and formed many habits to help with my AdHd. Though I still have some struggles with relating with others, I certainly have improved. Yet, I look around and I see that so many people still are getting offended—but it is much worse. The sad truth is the result of the offensive words and deeds. People hold it against others. People take something someone said and misinterpret it, and forever the person is disliked. Forgiveness is far from being found.
Yet as we think about the truth of the forgiveness of God, and we think about how people cling to anger and bitterness, we are found in contempt. We have offended God. Again and again, we have offended God. We will continue to offend God. Even so, He forgives us completely. He never holds it against us for our ignorance. He never lets our selfishness or lack of control taint His love for us. He does not tell us we are no longer welcome and out of His social group. He does not let the offense cause a break in the relationship—instead, God fills the gap with His love and grace. Today, consider what offenses you may be clinging to, and who needs your forgiveness. You may find that you need to forgive even more than the other person needs your forgiveness.
“For no matter how hard they try, God finds no pleasure with those who are controlled by the flesh.” – Romans 8:8 [TPT]
“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” – Colossians 3:13 [NLT]
More Than a Story is a 12 week study of the parables of Jesus. This is the second week: FORGIVENESS.
[The Unforgiving Debtor: Matthew 18:21-35]
Unforgiveness is the POISON we drink hoping another will die
When you hold tight to an unforgiving spirit you slowly die to TRUTH and RIGHTEOUSNESS – PRISONER
Peter came and asked “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” (v. 21b ESV)
He thought he was being extra generous with his forgiveness because Jewish law said to forgive a person three times.
Jesus answered “Seventy-seven times.”
“And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?” (Matthew 18:33 ESV)
Mercy – eleeó (el-eh-eh’-o) – pity, have mercy on, show mercy, have compassion
These people begged for mercy:
- 26 says “the servant fell on his knees, imploring” the king
- 29 says “his servant fell down and pleaded with” the forgiven servant
Each of us is forgiven because of Jesus. Jesus paid the debt.
“But if you don’t forgive people, your Father will not forgive your wrongdoing.” – Matthew 6:15 [HCSB]
- Remember how much you’ve been forgiven (Ephesians 4:32)
- Don’t try to get even (Romans 12:19)
- Respond to evil with good (Luke 6:27)
- Pray for those who persecute you (Luke 6:28)
“Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.” – Romans 12:18 [NLT]
“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
1) In Matthew 18:21-22, we read about Peter approaching Jesus with the question – “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive Him? As many as seven times?” Jesus answers, “Seventy-seven times.” What does that mean?
2) Read Luke 17:3-4. This passage mentions something happening before the forgiveness happens. What does it mention? Should this be required to forgive something?
3) The passage from Matthew 18 says we must continue to forgive. What is hard about forgiving someone again and again?
4) From where are we to forgive from? How can we do this?
5) Read Ephesians 4:32. How are we to forgive?
6) Share an example from your life when you needed to forgive.
Were you able to easily forgive?
What made it easier/difficult?
How did you feel after you forgave the person/people?
More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.