Summary: Forgiveness is easy to talk about, but not always easy to put into practice. This message illustrates why it is so important to forgive.
Bumper Stickers usually convey a great deal of truth: “The more people I meet the more I like my dog”.
• No doubt, many people have had bad experiences with other people.
• It seems that many people have been burned; disappointed.
When Jesus was asked the greatest commandment; he replied, “Love the lord your God…” and then he added the second, which is to “love your neighbour as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-38).
• Loving God is one thing; loving a neighbour can sometimes be a real challenge, especially when you’ve been hurt.
• But loving one another is so important to Jesus that in Matthew 18 Jesus gave his disciples some instruction on how to deal with someone who does you wrong. He doesn’t want things to go unresolved.
• “If a brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you.” (Mat 18:15).
• That’s the first step. Note, that Jesus didn’t say that you go and call all your friends and start talking about whoever it is that wronged you. He said, “go and show him his fault, just between the two of you.”
ILLUSTRATION: GETTING HISTORICAL
At a convention with their wives, two businessmen who had been roommates in college crossed paths. They sat in the lobby all night talking. They knew they would be in trouble with their wives.
• The next day they happened to see each other. "What did your wife think?"
• "I walked in the door and my wife got historical."
• "Don’t you mean hysterical?”
• "No, historical. She told me everything I ever did wrong."
Well Peter comes along. Good old Peter; always wanting to stick his nose into something; always having something to say. He always need to be just one step ahead of everyone else.
• Peter wants to show just how generous he is so he asks a question in vs. 21 and suggests the answer:
• “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times? (v 21).
Now, I don’t know if you noticed this or not, but notice that Peter didn’t even consider the possibility that he might sin against someone else.
• His only thought was what would happen if someone sinned against him!
• Isn’t that just the way it is? We always figure that we’re the one whose been wronged.
• And Peter, I think wanting to impress Jesus, suggested forgiving seven times. That really is impressive, considering the fact that the law only required that you forgive three times.
• I’m sure Peter was expecting a pat on the back for suggesting 7 times.
Jesus had a better idea – and to make his point, Jesus told a parable. [READ 22-35]
Here was a man who owed 10,000 talents. Now I’m not sure how we can translate that into current dollars, especially since our dollar keeps going up and down – but one thing for certain, this was more money than someone could ever hope to make in their lifetime. I mean, there was no way this guy was going to be able to pay it back. It was beyond imagination. Think millions.
• Well, it didn’t require a genius to recognize that this man was in a heap of trouble.
• It’s an awful feeling to be in debt – and this guy was way in over his head – and for whatever reason, the king, to whom the man owed the money, wanted to settle the account.
• The man with this debt was brought in and since he couldn’t pay the debt, the king was going to liquidate whatever he had, including his wife and children.
The servant recognized the depth of the trouble.
• He didn’t deny his debt, he didn’t try to explain it away, he didn’t blame it on the bad stock market, he didn’t make any excuses – which was a good thing because there was nothing he could say that would get him out of the jam he was in.
• He did the only thing he could; he fell on his knees and begged for more time.
Unbelievably, the king took pity on him and granted him a full pardon. Can you imagine that?
• The whole debt was cancelled and the man was free to go home! Unbelievable.
The servant has just been freed, the greatest load in the entire world has just been released off his back, and what does he do?
• He goes and finds someone that owes him a small amount, a few dollars, and demands payment.
• He literally held him by the neck, and threatened him.
• When this second guy didn’t have any money at all, the first rushes him off to prison.