Summary: Our Lord comes through crisp and clear on how we are to deal with hurt and abuse. For one thing, our Lord specifically forbids retaliation. Our natural tendency is to want to get even, but that’s just the opposite of what Jesus taught.
Lesson: Jesus’ New Directive for Forgiveness
Bible Reading: Matthew 18:21-35
21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times?
22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, until seven times: but, until seventy times seven.
23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.
25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellow servants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.
29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.
32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:
33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
How do you respond when you have been mistreated and hurt?
All of us would probably have to admit that when we have been mistreated, we find it hard to have a Christ-like mind and to express the forgiving Spirit of Christ toward those who have mistreated us.
We are more likely to become angry and try to get even.
But responding with anger, hostility, bitterness, and retaliation is the Devil’s way of destroying your home, your family, and your fellowship with others.
There are three points I want to make about forgiving those who have wronged us, and the first is:
We All Have Experienced the Pain of Being Mistreated.
Every human being experiences mistreatment from others.
How we deal with it will go a long way toward determining our well being and happiness in life.
Let me list for you some of the ways people are abused and mistreated. First, some have suffered abuse and mistreatment by their parents or by others in positions of authority over them while they were young and helpless.
I don’t even like to think about children being abused.
Just the thought makes me angry.
Yet, the news is full of this type of thing.
For instance, as I write this lesson, a child was found locked in a closet; her mother kept her there and rarely let her out.
Children in Africa are starving because soldiers will not allow food to get through to them.
Two little girls are stabbed to death by their father.
A little girl in Florida is abused and then killed by a child molester.
I can’t begin to imagine the hurt that the parents are going through.
It’s not only children who are abused, many people experience repeated mistreatment in marriage.
Dr. David Mace has stated that marriage provides the occasion for the experience of anger more than any other relationship in life because of its length and the close relationship it represents between two human beings, who at times may threaten one another.
Spousal abuse is so predominant now that safe houses have been set up in most cities to protect the wife and children from a husband and father that is out of control.
I was watching Cops the other day; you know, the TV show that shows real police officers doing their job.
What do you think most of the show was about?
It was about domestic violence; usually a husband has beaten his wife, but sometimes it’s the other way around.
I hope no one in here has ever been the object of abuse from their spouse or for that matter has abused a loved one; but abuse takes so many forms, we may all be guilty of it.