Summary: A spirit of unforgiveness can put us out of God’s grace. We do not want this dark emotion to destroy us.
• SLIDE #1
• I do not know about you but it is not very comfortable trying to shed some light on the dark emotions we deal with in life.
• Guess what? It does not get any easier today.
• I know I spoken a lot about the things that people do to us that can make it very challenging to live out our faith. Today’s dark emotion is no different.
• We can get so hurt at times that being able to forgive others can be difficult. If we allow a spirit of unforgiveness to go unchecked in our life, it can do a lot damage to us.
• A spirit of unforgiveness can cause us to really end up living a sour life.
• We ALL face the dark emotions we have been examining but the real issue for us is HOW DO WE DEAL WITH UNFORGIVENESS.
• How do we deal with this emotion so that we do not harbor a spirit of unforgiveness?
• Today we are going to open the Word of God to Matthew 18:21-35.
• This passage is one of Jesus parables entitled by many, The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant.
• Let us being our journey in Matthew 18:21-22.
• SLIDE #2
• Matthew 18:21–22 (ESV) 21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.
• SLIDE #3
I. A question we all wrestle with and a decision to make.
• The question of whether to offer forgiveness to another person is a question we all wrestle with.
• This is nothing new.
• During Jesus day people wrestled with the same question. As a matter of fact, the teachers of the Law had an answer to the question.
• You MUST forgive a person 3 times according to them.
• On the 4th time of offense, no forgiveness we required.
• Using references in the book of Amos (see 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 13; cf. Job 33:29), the rabbis had taken a repeated statement by God against neighboring enemies of Israel and made it into a universal rule for limiting God’s forgiveness and, by extension, also man’s.
• If God forgives men only three times, they wrongly reasoned, it is unnecessary and even presumptuous for men to forgive each other more times than that.
• The question is how many times are we called to forgive another person? Peter was trying to come across as rather magnanimous by asking about seven times.
• What is your number? I know folks with whom the answer is one. Cross me once and you are never forgiven.
• The one or no chance crowd rationalize that they are protecting themselves from further hurt by giving a person one chance or less.
• Let me ask you this, how many times do you want to be forgiven?
• Let us look at Jesus answer to Peter.
• Jesus says seventy times 7, or 70, 7 times. So 490 times!
• So to be a good Christian you MUST offer forgiveness to another person only 490 times!
• WHAT! 490 TIMES!
• Is the number important to Jesus? Was 490 the point? NO! Jesus is saying that we should ALWAYS be willing and ready to extend forgiveness to those who wrong us.
• Told you it was not easy.
• Rather than keeping track of the number of times we grant forgiveness, Jesus calls his followers to a basic mindset that is ever open to forgiveness and reconciliation.