Intro: A man brought his wife in for marital counseling. When he came into the room he
glaringly commanded her to sit in a chair. He turned to the counselor and said, “My wife needs counseling.” The counselor responded, “That might be so. Would you leave us for a few minutes and let me talk with her alone?” When he left the room, the counselor asked, “How can you stand living with this guy?” She responded, “I clean the bathrooms with his toothbrush.”
Trans: 1) Continuing to look at what Jesus says on relationships in the church we want to look at
forgiveness. In the church you have an expectation of what your relationship will look like. That can be really high in the church. But there are times that expectation does not match reality. Frustration from unmet needs. Friction with failed communication. Hurt over careless words. On and on the offenses go.
2) In all of this the glue that that holds the relationship together is the same glue that
holds our relationship with Christ. Forgiveness. When those inevitable
disappointments and hurts occur it reminds us that the glue that holds our
relationships together is the not our human goodness but the cross of Jesus Christ.
.Target: Let’s look at foundations how to give the forgiveness we have received.
Matthew 18:21 (p.695)
What do you need to know?
21 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?”
1. Jesus has just finished in the prior verses talking about forgiveness and reconciliation in relationships. If you recall we looked at a section of Jesus’ teaching on that last week. The question Peter asks in response, “How far are we to go with this forgiveness stuff?” The teaching of the Jewish rabbis of that time was that 3 times was all that you needed to forgive someone. Peter may have been thinking he is generous in more than doubling it.
2. This really is quite generous. When the reality of forgiveness is upon us, it is considerably difficult to forgive once. Imagine someone sinning against you 7 times:
stealing from your property,
defaming your reputation,
making a pass at your spouse,
not showing up for a responsibility. Would you be thinking “that is not too many” or wondering “when is enough, enough?” Surely there comes a point when forgiveness has got to end and we have the obligation to seek justice! This is what is at issue in Peter’s mind. Well, let’s see what the savior’s response is…
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. 23 (This is a figurative expression meaning without limit. Jesus drives home the point.) “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.
3. This man owed ten thousand talents. We read this and we probably think of a talent as a monetary unit such as a dollar, so we might read into this that this guy owed something like $10,000, a decent sum of money. Well a talent is a unit of money, but it is not like the dollar, it was a weight of money. One talent is equal to 6000 denarii. A Denarius is what a foot soldier or laborer’s salary would be for 1 day. Depending on how many days you work, a talent could be about 20 years worth of wages. So just for arguments sake let’s say a person earns $15 per hour which comes to about $31,000 per year. Multiply that by 20 years. That is $620,000 for 1 talent. Let’s just round it off to $600,000. 1 talent=$600,000 in today‘s currency. Ten thousand talents would equal 6 billion dollars. Ok, now let’s review the story with this in our minds. This servant owes him an equivalent terms $6 billion. Now there is no way that this servant will ever be able to pay this back. And that’s Jesus point.
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.
4. This servant can’t repay. So the king decides to have the man and his family thrown in prison to punish him. But the servant begs for mercy. The king is a merciful king and he forgives the debt.
1) Forgiveness cannot be repaid.
5. As one song goes, We owed a debt we could not pay and He paid a debt he did not owe…There is a principle: You cannot out forgive God. You will never come remotely close to forgiving beyond the forgiveness you have received.
28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii.
6. According to what we said 100 denarii is a100 days wages –– using same calculations as before, let’s call it close to $10,000 in our day and age. A significant amount but nothing compared to $6,000,000,000. The reality is that 10,000 talents was an unfathomable debt whereas 100 danarii in comparison was peanuts. So this servant, just forgiven such a huge debt, finds someone who owes him such a small debt in comparison. Let’s see how he treats his fellow servant…
He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. 29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ 30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. 32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?
2) Forgiveness is to be reflected.
1. This forgiveness needs to be reflected in our relationships.
(Illus.) Imagine that you've filled out the super duper sweepstakes a couple months ago, not expecting to hear anything in return, and now it's Sunday, and you're at worship service. In Sunday school they have a special offering, and somebody nudges you, and says, "I forgot my money. Would you lend me a couple of bucks? I'll drop by later today and pay it back." You give him a couple of bucks. Now it's Monday morning, and he didn't bring the two bucks back. About 8 o'clock on Monday morning you get a phone call from the sweepstakes place, and at the other end of the line is this exuberant voice saying, "Congratulations. I'm pleased to announce that you've just won the super duper sweepstakes. You have just won $1 million." Imagine what you're feeling. Think how your eyes are just circling in both directions. You're so ecstatic that the only thing that keeps you tied to earth is the phone cord. Now, is it possible for you to remember as you hang up the phone, “This person who borrowed two bucks from me yesterday failed to bring it by?” Are you going to call him on the phone and say, "Don't forget you owe me two bucks"? Not likely! (It changes your viewpoint altogether of the debt others owe you. ) This viewpoint needs to transfer in our relationships.
What do you need to do?
1. Forgiveness acknowledges sin.
(Appl.) Forgiveness acknowledges that there was a wrong committed. Some people are quick to discount the idea of forgiveness because they think it’s a type of pretending that nothing happened - “It’s no big deal,” “Oh, don’t worry about it.” “Water under the Bridge.” Actually, that’s not true at all. When you honestly confront the idea of forgiveness, that very act puts you in a place where you are acknowledging that a wrong was done - something that hurts enough to need forgiven.
(Appl.) What is it then? It's a deliberate choice to no longer hurt or be hurt by the pain that has been caused in your life. What this means is that to the person you have forgiven: You don’t keep bringing the issue up! (I know you broke my Father’s pen that he left to me, but I have forgiven you but you still need to be reminded so you don’t do it again.) You don’t say, “I’ve forgiven you but I still need to make you feel bad for what you did.” If that is your attitude then you have not forgiven.
2. Forgiveness changes your status.
(Appl.) When someone does something hurtful to us and we become the victim of thoughtlessness. We sometimes believe that there is nothing we can do about our victim status, but that’s not true. When we forgive, we are no longer the one who has merely been acted upon. When we forgive, we boldly stand and say, “You will not dictate the way I respond; you will not dictate who I am.”
(Appl.) The act of forgiveness is when we say that though a person has taken something valuable from us in forgiving that person we will not allow them to continue to take it from us anymore.
3. Forgiveness releases from slavery.
34 In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”
(Appl.) Unforgivness locks you into an emotional and spiritual prison. When you hold onto bitterness, it is like drinking poison and expecting the other person for whom you are bitter to suffer. You suffer the ulcers and headaches as you churn over in your mind the sins committed against you. You suffer high blood pressure and back and neck pain as you contemplate justice and plot revenge.
(Appl.) Forgiveness releases people from the prison of the past in order to seize the future.
(This morning I am not dealing with emotional traumas or severe offenses. I am talking about the hurts and disappointment we inevitably face in the church. Those things that build up and cause distance…(grievances)
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. (Colossians 3:12-15)
(Appl.) 1. It means seeing the person who hurt you as having worth again despite wrongdoing and the pain you currently feel. 2. It means you want to cancel the demands of the past recognizing that you cannot change the unchangeable of what has been done. 3. It means you will go on a step by step process of working through anger and pain and as you trust God’s timing.
4. It means you will drop ironclad guarantees of the promise of future behavior and that you will work on changing yourself while accepting the current limits in your relationship.
23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
27 Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup.