Summary: Forgiveness is characteristic of God that we need in our lives to be a free person.
FREE TO SET OTHERS FREE Matt 18:21-35
In our look through the Bible the one that we find is most like other humans is Peter. On many occasions, his desire to be spiritually tough and dependable surpassed his depth of his commitment. He often is shown as one who is weak spiritually than the other disciples. How would you like to be known as the one in this church who is weak spiritually? In our scripture today, we see Peter asking a question about forgiveness. One of the laws he had grown up with is that you need to forgive a person at least three times for an offence. Peter thought as he asked this question that if he went to seven he would be doing better than others of his time. Do you ever think you go beyond what is required and are a little better than those around you? As Peter waited for Jesus’ answer he might have been thinking, “He will probably pat me on the back and say you have really done good in this thought.” He was surprised at the answer he was to receive. We want to look at three elements of forgiveness today.
1. FORGIVENESS IS revealing. “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked him, "Lord, how often do I have to forgive a believer who wrongs me? Seven times?" Jesus answered him, "I tell you, not just seven times, but seventy times seven.”
A. Forgiveness is not easy. If we are to forgive, it means we must be willing to wipe clean the wrong doing a person who has done to us and set them free. It means to go beyond the problem and to love that person as though they had done nothing wrong. We must remember that is God’s forgiveness to us is. “One rainy afternoon I was driving along one of the main streets of town, taking those extra precautions necessary when the roads are wet and slick. Suddenly, my daughter spoke up from her relaxed position in her seat. "Dad, I’m thinking of something." This announcement usually meant she had been pondering some fact for a while, and was now ready to expound all that her six-year-old mind had discovered. I was eager to hear. "What are you thinking?" I asked. "The rain," she began, "is like sin, and the windshield wipers are like God wiping our sins away." After the chill bumps raced up my arms, I was able to respond. "That’s really good, Aspen." Then my curiosity broke in. How far would this little girl take this revelation? So I asked... "Do you notice how the rain keeps on coming? What does that tell you?" Aspen didn’t hesitate one moment with her answer: "We keep on sinning, and God just keeps on forgiving us." I will always remember this whenever I turn my wipers on. In order to see the rainbow, you must first endure the rain!” God is pure and holy way beyond what our minds can even imagine and yet He offers us forgiveness freely. What keeps you from forgiving?
B. God’s grace is shown in this story as Jesus states “the kingdom of heaven is like...” Jesus gave a staggering debt this man owed. In our money today, it might be equal to 12 million dollars. Jesus was making a point that our debt to God is totally, completely and beyond the reach of ever being repaid. This man realized that the king’s demand would mean he would loose everything including his family. He fell down before the king and asked for patience so he would have time to pay what he owed. We see the forgiveness of God in that this king not only had patience but cancelled the debt completely with no strings attached.