Summary: What happens when we forgive or don’t forgive? What spiritual principles are called into play? HOW do we actually forgive in practice?

The Power of Forgiveness and Unforgiveness

Matthew 18:21-35. WBC 28.11.04pm

How Arguments Should End212.mpg (a video clip with the bloke ’making up’ after an argument by slamming his lady with a log!) in Ills to keep folder


We jest- and I love the video clip…

- but this is a very real subject.

o Many of you… all of us… have real issues to deal with

o Maybe you’ve been hurt even this week

o Certainly you’ve been hurt.. ‘sinned against’ in the past

 Probably hurt others

And so we’re all affected… trapped… handicapped even… by the things done and done to us

- and ask ‘how can I be free.. get free… free others from the power of hurt and sin?

It’s very real. But the Bible is real in addressing it

- Jesus leaves no important issue unaddressed

- In fact: deals with forgiveness repeatedly

o = therefore majorly important

- Christianity IS eminently practical

A man left work one Friday afternoon. But instead of going home, he stayed out the entire weekend fishing with the boys and spending his entire paycheck.

When he finally appeared at home Sunday night, he was confronted by his very angry wife and was barraged for nearly 2 hours with a tirade of his actions.

Finally his wife stopped the nagging and simply said to him "How would you like it if you didn’t see me for 2 or 3 days?" To which he replied, "That would be fine with me!

Monday went by and he didn’t see his wife. Tuesday and Wednesday came and went with the same results.

On Thursday, the swelling went down just enough where he could see her a little out of the corner of his left eye.

Jesus’ teaching is PRACTICAL… and works

- If you apply Jesus’ teaching, tonight, you (and others) can be free

So Jesus gives a parable about forgiveness

- in response to Peter’s question about how often he should forgive

o note: Jesus also answers with how and why

- Peter thinks he’s being generous… smart

o Pharisees taught ‘only 3 times’ (he goes to 7!)

o No mention of ‘if they say sorry to me

Jesus replies with 70 times – or 70 times 7

- i.e. infinitely!

And then goes on to illustrate the principles of forgiveness:

There’s this bloke, a servant, who owes his king a billion pounds

- the king is shrewd, unmerciful and a bit of a book-keeper. An accountant

- the servant can’t pay. The king acts as people did in those days and orders the servant & family be sold. Cool. Unmerciful. Just.

The servant cries out for mercy

- but also must think the kind is not only a book keeper, but a rather thick one

o “Be patient…. I will pay back everything”

Here’s the incredible thing. The immovable king is suddenly moved

- v 27 the servant’s master took pity on him

- has ‘gut wrenching compassion’

- cancels everything and lets him go. 1 Billion pounds!

Unfortunately- the servant is the thick one

- has no sense as to WHY the king let him go

- thinks it’s based on his offer of repayment

o either he’s fooled himself ‘I really CAN earn this £1Bn

o or he thinks the king is the fool: ‘what a dork! He thinks he’s gonna get £1Bn out of me!

And so-he goes Scott- free…. But hasn’t learned. Is still thinking it’s about accounts and book-keeping n and LAW

So- when he meets a fellow-servant who owes him a few pence, he thinks ‘let’s balance the books! GIMMIE!’

- ignores the realistic cry of the servant “I WILL pay you back”

- and does what was bog-standard… what he was entitled to, actually

- has him thrown into prison until he can repay

His on-looking colleagues… who have received no mercy for themselves, yet… see more than the big debtor does. See why he was forgiven the first amount

- not because he earned it, or could repay it or was smart

- but because of the Master’s mercy

They see the inconsistency and sneak on him to the boss

And it’s time for some home truths. If the indebted servant wouldn’t learn from grace… he’ll now learn from life

- he’s called wicked.

- The reason the debt was forgiven is actually explained

o (in plain English. Or Greek!)

- finds himself handed over to (lit) ‘the torturers’ until

o he learns

o he can pay it all back (the consequences of wanting to play it all by law and book-keeping)


Oh, heavens-here’s an incentive

- it’s not the incentive God wants

- in fact: the master doesn’t torture him at all

The master demonstrates and only plays by GRACE

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