Matthew 18: 21- 35
“Parable of the Debtors”
The gospel message today is one that many people do not like to think about!
It begins with Peter asking Jesus, how many times he ought to forgive someone? Peter wants to know how often should one forgive one’s brother or sister if they sin against you. So how often should your brother or sister forgive you? Or you forgive a brother or sister?- That is the pertinent question Should it be seven times ? Peter obviously thought that was a lot! Since the optimum strike for a Jew is 3 times! I myself have asked myself the question many times...how about you?
Do you agree with Jesus that you should forgive seventy multiplied by seven times? In other words as many times as it takes . There should be no limit to our forgiveness ! But we question...how can you deal with one who constantly offends? especially someone who apparently does not even see or feel the need to change ?
Hopefully by the end of this sermon, we may get the proper perspective Jesus’ way…
Maybe you are struggling with the issue of forgiveness today. You have been wounded by someone, hurt ,or let down badly, and you cannot bring yourself to forgive them. Or maybe you, have been the offender, and you find yourself alienated by someone you care about deeply. It makes you sick in your stomach… well, this sermon is tailor made for us today, as we consider this most difficult human action! FORGIVENESS !
Now do you give your brothers and sisters multiple opportunities to forgive , or be forgiven each day? Or more importantly, “do you give God multiple opportunities to forgive you every day?”
Often times those of other faiths or of no faith don’t think this matters at all. So unless they benefit, forgiveness or doing good either for God or for others is not on their radar! Just like the servant who was forgiven by his master, they want to be treated well but see no need to act rightly towards others or towards God! However for us as Christians, who believe in God, and want to follow closely his statutes, laws, precepts, and commands it does matter how we deal with forgiveness!
If we have truly accepted Jesus as our Lord and Saviour then we have been forgiven by God and He has given us eternal life in His kingdom. Non-believers have not had their sins forgiven and may even think there is nothing to forgive. They may even think that they can treat others badly with impunity because there is no God to bring recompense. That however, is dangerous thinking!
Can we, as church , God’s people have such disdain for God that they would deliberately sin against their brothers and sisters in this way?.. acting like the landowner in Jesus’ parable . Pe After just being granted pardon, and having his entire debt of 10,000 talents wiped clean, meets his fellow slave who owes him 100 denari, grabbes him by the throat saying: “pay up you lazy thief !”
If Holy Spirit has recorded this in the bible then it is for a good reason.
This gospel message is a warning about dangerous conditions or attitudes that people can have. Many times we overlook Jesus warning to us. we think we could never obey this seemingly harsh command, because the wounds and insults, and violations that are done to you or someone close, do not seem paltry to you. As the famous theologian, C. S. Lewis once said:
Everybody thinks forgiveness is a good idea until they have something serious to forgive”.
(1) In many cases, people, without sometimes realising it themselves, are so far from God that they sin without even having the conscience to realize that they are doing wrong. Or, are non-believers so they don’t care! Believers, and wevall are or pretend to be, know what the wages for deliberate sin is! and therefore should look for ways to grow in favour with both God and mankind!
(2). Others are plain unforgiving…. but according to Jesus having that attitude will bring serious consequences. If we believe in God we will speedily make amends with our brother/ sister, by talking things through at first opportunity in an ,understanding way in an effort to remedy a situation carefully considering the other person’s point of view, s that the situation, could be resolved amicably and forgiveness can take place. That way, we imitate Jesus who forgave and forgives us. Believers study to build character and to become more like Jesus every day!
Remember, in the episode mentioned in the gospel the wicked servant was handed over to be tortured. Today ones who do not exercise forgiveness end up miserable sad cases!
In popular literature when bad people die they end up being tortured by Satan.
Either way suggests a bad ending for people who don’t take God seriously. In Romans God says that every knee will bow to Him. But who wants to have to admit that God is Lord while being stuck in a hellish place?
My brothers, and sisters, carrying resentment around with you for anther person, not to mention, another brother or sister in the faith, affects YOU physically, emotionally, even mentally and most importantly spiritually.
On the other hand the Psalm told us that we should bless the Lord and bless His Holy Name. Also we should not forget His benefits like forgiveness and healing and we should, as His children, want to pass on His benefits to others.
But , one may say, Good Sermon, but how can we change? I have been like this all my life… what practical help or advice is on offer ? [This I am not unmindful of. ]So In the last few minutes, of the short time afforded, let us conclude with some salient points to remember and some practical things that we can do to be victorious in FORGIVENESS.
1. Always bear in mind that God has given us the ability to forgive others, for HE has already forgiven us. This sets us apart from any other faith, every other religion, or belief system, We have the capacity to forgive or “ to send away” or “let go “as the Greek word literally translates.
2.Forgiveness is a choice- a conscious decision to LET GO
3. To forgive or let go we become pleasing to God
4. We benefit by forgiveness by having a weight lifted from us as we are set free!
x see separate sheet-
Snday worshi’Bible courses
Have and show love
Talk over things wih felow believers
Choose to forgive
LET GO !
My brothers, and sisters, it may not be easy letting go of the past, but it certainly gives us the opportunity to move joyfully into the future.
Let go, Let go, LET GO!
Thanks be to God! AMEN.
[It’s always good when a God plan comes together. ]