Summary: The intention of this message is to get us to forgive as we have been forgiven.

Lesson on Faith from The Lord’s Model Prayer

Releasing Faith

“Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Matthew 6:12

November 2, 2003


A. [Forgiving Your Spouse, Citation: Glenn E. Schaeffer, Christian Reader ("Kids of the Kingdom" September/October 1997)]

During a children’s sermon one Sunday morning, I held up an ugly-looking summer shirt that I wore occasionally around the house. I explained to the children that someone said the shirt was ugly and should be thrown away.

"This really hurt me," I explained. "I’m having trouble forgiving the person who said those mean things. Do you think I should forgive that person?" I asked the children. Immediately, my six-year-old daughter, Alicia, raised her hand. "Yes, you should," she said without hesitation. "But why? The person hurt my feelings," I responded.

To which Alicia wisely answered, "Because you’re married to her."

1. Often, forgiveness is a very difficult thing.

2. It is especially difficult in our families.

3. And, evidently, it can be more difficult for us Hoosiers…

B. [Resentful Husband Retreats, Citation: Chicago Herald Examiner (11-17-1930)]

There was a story in a 1930 edition of the Chicago Herald Examiner about a husband and a wife. The headline read: "Man Spites His Wife by Staying Blindfolded in Bed Seven Years." The story said:

The strange story of Harry Havens of Indiana, who went to bed—and stayed there—for seven years with a blindfold over his eyes because he was peeved at his wife, was revealed here today when he decided to get out of bed. Havens was the kind of husband who liked to help around the house—hang pictures, wipe the dishes, and such. His wife scolded him for the way he was performing one of these tasks, and he resented it. He is reported to have said: "All right. If that’s the way you feel, I’m going to bed. I’m going to stay there the rest of my life. And I don’t want to see you or anyone else again." His last remark explains the blindfold. He got up, he explained, when the bed started to feel uncomfortable after seven years.

C. When Jesus taught the disciples to pray, He told them to pray, “Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

1. Jesus taught many times on the subject of forgiveness.

2. On one occasion Peter asked how many times he should forgive someone.

3. It is recorded for us beginning Matthew 18:21

I. Forgiveness and Grace

Matthew 18:21-27 (NIV), Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" 22 Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. 23 "Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. 26 "The servant fell on his knees before him. ’Be patient with me,’ he begged, ’and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

A. Peter came and asked Jesus how often he should forgive a brother who sinned against him.

1. I suppose Peter was simply trying to pick a good number, a godly number.

2. He was being generous.

3. The rabbinical teaching of his day was that they should forgive three times.

4. So Peter was being generous and trying to exceed the rabbinical teaching and asks if he should forgive his brother up to seven times.

B. But Jesus responded in a similar way to what Peter asked the question.

1. The NIV looks like it says 77 times.

2. The KJV says 70 X 7

3. And the NIV footnote says 70 X 7

4. But if you look back at verse 21 in the NIV it actually does say 70 seven times.

5. Whatever the Greek actually means here, it is clear that Jesus is simply trying to answer in a similar way to what Peter asked the question.

6. Jesus was not teaching that there was 77 times or 490 times that we should forgive someone, but that we should continually continue to forgive.

C. Jesus sensed Peter’s inability to comprehend this idea and so He told a story about a king who wanted to settle account with his servants.

1. Jesus said that the king had a certain man who owed him 10,000 talents (or millions of dollars the NIV footnote says) and the king wanted to settle up with the man.

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