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Summary: This sermon deals with the danger of refusing to forgive those who have hurt us in some way.

The Letter

Matthew 18:21-35

21 Then Peter came to Him and said, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?"

[22] Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

[23] Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.

[24] And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents.

[25] But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. [26] The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, 'Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.'

[27] Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.

[28] But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, 'Pay me what you owe!'

[29] So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, 'Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.'

[30] And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt.

[31] So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done.

[32] Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me.

[33] Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?'

[34] And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.

[35] So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses."

Have you ever been hurt by someone?

Maybe this person hurt your feeling by something he said.

Maybe someone did something that caused you some trouble.

Maybe someone did something that really disappointed you.

If that has happened to you, how do you feel about that person?

Do you think that person owes you an apology?

Today, I’m going to tell you the story of a Christian man.

He was a prosperous attorney who handled many legal cases.

One day as he sat in church,

the pastor preached a sermon on today’s Bible passage.

The lawyer went home and meditated on those scriptures.

After praying about it, the lawyer made a big decision.

The lawyer decided to cancel the debts of all his clients

who owed him money for more than 6 months.

He drafted a letter explaining his decision and its biblical basis

and sent 17 debt-cancelling letters via certified mail.

One by one, the letters began to return.

The letters were unsigned and undelivered.

The lawyer was puzzled by that.

He thought maybe a couple of people had moved away,

but that was not likely.

The lawyer found out that 16 of the 17 letters came back to him

because the clients refused to sign for and open the envelopes.

Why?

They were all afraid that the lawyer was suing them for their debts.

Well, we may not owe a lawyer some money,

but we do owe a debt for our sin.

Romans 3:23 says, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

The merciful attorney heard what Jesus said in Matthew 18:21-35.

In the parable, Jesus tells about a servant

who owed his king an excessive amount of money.

It was 10,000 talents .

In today’s money system that would amount to $1 ¼ million.

The servant pled for mercy.

How did the king respond?

Look again at Verse 27.

Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.

Now, we would expect that servant to be very grateful.

The king had cancelled a huge debt that he owed.

So how did that servant whose huge debt was erased react?

Jesus says the servant went out and found a fellow servant

who owed him 100 denarii..

OK. How much would that equal in today’s money?

Well, a denarii was equal back then to about a day’s pay.

If we use minimum wage as a scale,

an 8-hour day would be worth in Illinois about $66.00.

This servant owed 100 days wages or about $$6,600.00.

So you can see that this servant owed far less.

Jesus says this servant also pled for mercy.

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