Summary: The pain of forgiveness.

Series: The Parables of Christ

Topic: Maxed Out

February 24, 2002

Matthew 18:21-35

Introduction: My experience of being robbed

How we often respond to such experiences

Fear, Anger, Bitterness, Seek Vengeance

Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven. Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the reckoning, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents; and as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him the lord of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But that same servant, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and besought him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison till he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you besought me; and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord delivered him to the jailers, till he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart." Matthew 18:21-35

I. Forgiveness Is An Uphill Battle

[Subpoints are borrowed from "A Lifestyle of Forgiveness" by Greg Cooper.]

A. We Hold Grudges Because Of Hurt

We tend to remember things that have hurt or scared our lives

"I remember what you did"

If we are going to walk in fellowship with God we must not continue to hold wrongs done to us against others.

B. We Hold Grudges Because We Are Reactionary

You hurt me I will hurt you (sounds like a two year old)

You say something bad about me then I will say something about you

ILL. Two Christians, Paul and John, lived next door to each other in the suburbs.

One day, Paul sawed down a tree which adjoined their two properties. The tree fell and smashed John’s lounge windows. John stormed out of his house and hollered at Paul. Paul hollered at John. Soon they had each other by the clothes, and finally John threw Paul to the ground.

Paul got up and brushed himself off. "Now look here, John," he said, "it’s high time one of us acted like a Christian!"

He paused for a moment, then glared at his neighbor, and said, "So, why don’t you turn your left cheek and let me punch you!?"

ILL. Button in a tourist shop: to err is human, to forgive is out of the question.

C. We Hold Grudges Because We’d Rather Get Even

ILL. A little boy had a fight with his older brother one day. The little boy refused to speak to his brother all day. When bed time came his mother went to the little boy and said, "Don’t you think that you should forgive your brother before you go to sleep? The Bible say’s that we should not let the sun go down on our wrath." After thinking for a moment the little boy replied, "But how can I keep the sun from going down."

We want those who have wronged us to pay for what they have done

But God says :

"Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against any one; so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses." Mark 11:25 (RSV)

But we want to say, "It’s not fair"

We must remember life may not always be fair but God is a just God and will handle every problem fairly

We must learn to release our anger and forgive by turning it over to God

Peter says "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?"

Peter is generous

Rabbi tradition holds to three times

but Peter goes as far as seven times

II. Kingdom Qualification

A. We Owe An Unpayable Debt (vss 23-27)

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