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.
When someone does something wrong to you, there is usually this desire for justice and even revenge. Over the years I have heard many stories about how people have gotten even with others who did something bad to them. We all have this need for retribution but God doesn’t want us to “get even” with people by repaying them with evil.
Too many people take the “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” concept the wrong way. God is a God of justice and He will judge. He is fair. He is right. He is faithful. Our retaliation, our revenge attempts only bring us a moment of temporary satisfaction for getting someone back. But does it really do something good for us? Does it really make us feel better?
God wants us to pay people back with a blessing. Has someone done something mean to you? Has someone hurt you? Has someone stolen from you? Has someone spoken badly about you? Pray for them. Pay them back with a blessing. Don’t stoop down a level for retribution. Trust God will handle it all. Be a blessing.
“Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.” – 1 Peter 3:9 [NLT]
Simeon and Levi were upset with what happened to their sister Dinah at the hands of Shechem. She was violated and hurt. They were angry and devised a plan to get revenge. In Genesis 34, we read about their actions. They allowed for Dinah to return with Shechem but had a plan to enact vengeance on the people. They ended up retrieving their sister along with slaughtering the people and plundering the area.
Most of us today would not consider giving a victim to the guilty party but many of us do want justice. It is okay to want justice. God even tells us to seek justice (see Micah 6). But Simeon and Levi went at it the wrong way. Just because a wrong was committed, does not mean another wrong committed is an act of justice. Simeon and Levi not only lied, but they stole and they murdered.
Seek justice but understand that God’s commands cannot be twisted or ignored for the justice. Trust in His justice. He is a just God. There’s no reason to join with those who have committed wrong doings to get some false sense of justice. God will handle it.
“The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.” – Psalm 33:5 [NIV]