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Forgiveness

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Title:  How dare you!

Text: Matt. 18:21-35

Introduction:  How can I not forgive a person when God has forgiven me of some stuff that I know I should be punished for?  So how dare I not forgive?  And how dare you? How dare you not forgive somebody for stealing when you steal from God by not tithing when you have the money?  How dare you not forgive somebody who lies when you lied to God before about what you were going to do?  How dare you? How dare you not forgive someone who has not been the best Christian but if I were to ask your family members if you were saved they would not know.  How dare you! 

Background:  In Matthew 18, Jesus taught His followers how to deal with an offence, to quietly go to the person who offended you and seek reconciliation. Peter asks for a standard for forgiveness, and Jesus gives him one.  In verse 21, Peter asked the Lord how many times should you forgive someone who does you wrong?  Here Peter makes a generous offer of forgiving 7 times.  Seven is the number of completion.  He may have thought this would impress Jesus because in the tradition of his day the Rabbi’s taught only forgive up to 3 times and the fourth it was a wrap.  You did not have to forgive.  Jesus shows us that we have to take forgiveness to an even higher level and says that we should not just forgive 7 times but 70 times 7.  This is not a literal amount of 490 times but this figuratively means that our forgiveness has no limit.  It is not a quantitative matter but is qualitative.  That quality is based on the love of Jesus.  His unlimited love operates with unlimited forgiveness.  And to illustrate this concept Jesus tells his disciples a parable to establish this kingdom principle.  Parables are earthly stories with heavenly meanings.  Parable means to place along side or make a comparison.  In verse 23, He compares the kingdom of heaven to a certain king who wants to settles his accounts with his servants.  When it was time to settle the debts, one of his servants was brought to him that owed him ten thousand talents which is equivalent to approx. 12,000,000.  This was an enormous debt to pay.  Even though these classes of servants were satraps, governors that collected farm taxes for profits for their master, there was no way that this servant could ever repay this debt.  This sounds much like us.  No matter who we are and what we do, there is no way we could repay the debt we owe to our Lord.  We owed him too much. Not only did this servant have a problem but his problem affected his loved ones. In verse 25, the text says that since he could not pay, the king commanded that not only he would be sold into slavery but also his wife and children.  When we are in to debt or sin it will affect everybody connected to us.  Our inability to settle the debt will put others in bondage.  This news of his consequence hit this servant in his heart. Verse 26 says that he fell down and worshipped saying “Lord, have patience with me and I will repay”.  In other words, he humbled himself and worshipped to the one who not only had power but who authority. My brothers and sisters, the debt we owe God should compel us to humble ourselves and worship Christ as Lord and plead with him to have mercy on you.  Don’t give me what I deserve Lord! Have mercy on me! This servant knew that his master had the power and the authority do what he desires to do.  Jesus has power and the authority to do whatever He wants to do in our lives.   This servant was so desperate that he said something that he really didn’t mean.  He said “I will repay ye all”.  Have you ever been so desperate for mercy that you said some stuff you really did not mean? “I promise I never do it again”. And you know what happen after that. You most likely did it again. But thanks be to God, His mercy does not have anything to do with you or I. It all depends on God’s will towards us.  And His will is to save us from all our troubles.  Look how God shows us His merciful hand when know we can’t repay him back and even when we lie about doing it. The text says that the lord of the servant was moved with compassion which means that he had pity on him.  Then the text says that he loosed him.  He set him free from his bondage and then he forgave him from the debt.  The servant did not owe anything any more!  This is what Jesus did for you and I.  He had compassion on me.  He loosed me. And He took away the debt that I could not repay. I don’t have to pay my sin debt anymore. That is why I love him! 

       But here in the next verse the story gets turn.  You would think that this servant would be so grateful that he would be merciful to anybody else who had been in the same position as he was.  But he flipped the scrip.  Look at the text.  This same servant who was just forgiven went out and found one of his co-laborers who owed him 100 pence which was equivalent to $15 dollars.  He grabbed him and choked him telling him to pay up!  He had a lot of nerve.  He had the audacity to ask somebody just like him to pay up when he was just forgiven of the same offense.  We are the same way.  It is just like when our boss gets on us to do a better job and then we turn around and get on our coworker who is slacking also.  Hypocrite! How dare him! You would think that his servant would be convicted by what his fellow servant does when he comes after him.  His fellow servant in verse 29 does exactly what he did when his king came for his money. The fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him to have patience and that he will repay him.  Does this sound familiar?   How soon we forget.  Saints, don’t you dare forget how the Lord forgave you when somebody needs your forgiveness. The one who was now forgiven has become unforgiving. In verse 30, this insensitive servant denies his colleague of mercy and throws him into prison until he can repay him.  But this really doesn’t make sense.  You can’t make money in bondage to pay anybody back.  So what was the unforgiving servant thinking?  Unforgiveness can cloud your thinking.  You can’t reason or rationalize because your heart is hardened and you are restricting the move of the Spirit not using the wisdom that God has given you.  But this unforgiving servant would not get away this disgraceful behavior.  Somebody saw what was going on and told his master what he did. Verse 31 says the other servants who saw this became very sorry which means it grieved them.  When injustice is done it should grieve you enough to go to Lord.  You don’t always have to go the person who does the wrong just tell the Lord and he will handle it.  Now his lord calls for this unforgiving servant.  He said to him, “how dare you? You wicked servant not forgiving when you just begged me for mercy.” How dare you not forgive your fellow servant when I had pity on you for the same thing?  The Lord is saying to us “How dare you not forgive your brother or sister when you had a debt in man’s eyes more substantial than theirs?” How dare you! This servant’s lord was so mad at him he turned the unforgiving servant over to tormentors.  Tormentors were jailers who tortured prisoners.  God will turn over to painful situation to disciple you i.e. children of Israel. The word tormentor originally means one who elicits truth by the use of a rack (stretch). When don’t do right, God with put you in to situations that will stretch the truth out of you. 

Jesus ends this parable telling us “likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses”.  If I don’t forgive, God is not going to forgive me.  This teaches us that the biblical principle of reaping and sowing.   If I want forgiveness I must be willing to forgive. 

Forgiveness is not conditional.  We are to forgive every offense.  Forgiveness is not forgetting. But it is admitting it happened, yeah it hurt but I release it!  Forgiveness is not carrying a grudge or a vendetta. It is unloading a burden.  If you don’t forgive it will turn you into an offence.  And I am here to tell you that if a person does not even say they are sorry or repents you still have to forgive.  Stephen when he was stoned for preaching the gospel before he died said “Lord, hold not there sin against them”. I got to forgive.  Forgiveness is not necessarily for the one who offended you it if for you to release your bondage and burdens.  Forgiveness is not natural for us to do as human. That is why we need the Holy Ghost to help us.  Your claim to Christianity centers on forgiveness.  Here is the problem of unforgiveness.  Unforgiveness has some physical repercussions.  There have been about 60 conclusive studies that show a clear connection between the health of the body and the effects of unforgiveness.  In one study, vengeful thoughts (for as little as 16 seconds) led to an increase in blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension and a decrease in T-cell counts (disease fighters) all due to a hormone that is released under stress. People can become extremely ill when they choose to harbor feelings of bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness.  When you choose to hold on to symptoms of unforgiveness, such as hatred, resentment, bitterness and regret, these feelings act like a poison that slowly eats away at your body, devouring your health. People who harbor unforgiveness within them often develop ulcers, high blood pressure, cancer, suffer strokes or even have heart attacks.  Unforgiveness can kill you.   Tried stone, you must forgive.  The Lord is watching your unforgiveness. 

 

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