A Christianís approach to life situations part 11
To the Christians the word forgiveness should be one of the most important words in the English language because we know that we were hopeless lost as we drowned in our sins.
But, thankful God loved us enough to provide His son to die for us, so that we could have the forgiveness of our sins. Just as God forgave us when we repented of our sinful past we must also learn to forgive those who sin against us when they repent.
Jesus gives a great parable that will help to see all sides of forgiveness and it will teach us how to handle forgiveness in our lives.
"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
In this parable the King represents God and the servant represents us.
This Parable is historically accurate because during these times a person who
did not pay his debt would be thrown into jail for it. If he couldnít pay his
debt then they would sell his belonging and even his family to try and get
their money back. The logic behind this law was that a person would take their
debt very seriously and they would do what ever took to pay their debt. Could
you imagine how many people would be in jail in our society today if that law
was in use right now. Most Americans donít even give a huge debt a second
thought because they know they can just file bankruptcy.
The King is ready to collect his money and we find out that this one
servant owes him 10,000 talents. This is huge amount of money and the value of
this depends on weather or not this was gold or silver. If it was silver the
Roman standard value of this would be 3 million by the Jewish standard it would
be 10 million. If it was gold it would be over 150 million dollars. The servant
of course had no way of paying this debt and was at the mercy of the king. He
knew the law and he knew that the king would throw him into prison and sell his
family and his belongs to try and to recover at†
least part of his money. We must remember that the standard pay back
then was one denarius per day which is equal to about 17 cents in our standards
today. So we see that even if this man gave his entire wage every day it would
have taken him 200,000 years to pay it off. This man was doomed.
When we apply this to us today we can know that the Day of Judgment is
going to happen and all of us will stand before Jesus and give an account of
lives 2 Cor. 5:10. Every accountable
person has sinned and this becomes a debt that we cannot pay. We are just like
this servant we are helpless before God.
Mark 10: 26 Ö "Who then can be saved?"† 27 But Jesus looked at them and
said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God
all things are possible."
†I canít help
but wonder if this servant had kept on telling himself that he would take care
of his debt to the king later, but as we read later never came. There a lot
Christians and nonChristians who have this attitude that they can live in sin
now and obtain forgiveness later. However, just like our servant, later may be
to late because we do not have any guarantees in this life. For instance, you
think about those that just died in
In vrs 26 of our parable out of desperation the servant falls down
before his king and pleads and begs him to have mercy on him to allow him to
have more time to pay his debt. †Again,
this shows us that we are at the mercy of God and without him and his grace we
are hopelessly lost.
In verse 27 when it says that king was ďmoved with compassionĒ. This
expression is a very strong one and it carries the idea that the king had felt
a deep pain for the suffering of this servant and not only did this king exercise
great patience with his servant he forgave him his whole debt. This represents
the great love and mercy that God has for all us as He has provided us a way to
have our debt of sin forgiven by the blood of Jesus.
1 John 4:8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.† 9 In this the love of God was
manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world,
that we might live through Him.† 10
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to
be the propitiation for our sins. †
We also read of the patience of God in,
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is
not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is
longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should
come to repentance.
This should be encouraging to us today to know that our Father
understands that we struggle with sin and that he will have mercy upon us when
he sees us suffering with our sin and when he sees us repent from the heart he
will forgive and forget our debt our sin just as the king forgave the debt of
his servant. Since God has forgiven us when we repented, we should show the
same forgiveness to others when they repent. But, notice what our servant does
as we continue in parable.
Matthew 18: 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. †
Sometimes we as
Christians lose sight of this forgiveness that we have received and then we
donít want to forgive others. Jesus told his disciples in Mat 10:8 when he was sending them out to heal people
and teach about the coming kingdom, he told them freely you have received
freely give. Unfortunately this servant did not do this, instead we find
out that he had a servant that owed him a sum of money 100 denarii. This would
be somewhere around 15 to 25 dollars today. He grabbed him by the throat and
demanded hat he pay. But the servant did not have the money and in the same
manner he fell on the ground before him and begged for mercy. Now it should
have been easy for this servant to have forgiven this man this small debt after
having been forgiven himself a 3 - 10 million dollar debt. But no, he did not
forgive him, instead he had the man put in jail. A lot of people love to
receive the mercy and the forgiveness of others, but they themselves donít want
to be forgivers. This did not go un-noticed as continue in verse,
"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."
These other servants understood that this man should have forgiven his fellow servant and so they brought the matter before the king and the king was furious had the man brought before him. Since he did not show compassion on his fellow servant when begged for mercy as the king had given him. He is now thrown in to face the torturers until all is paid. The tortures represent hell and because of this man unwillingness to forgive as he was forgiven he will be in this place for eternity because there is no way for Him to ever pay His debt.
Jesus point is that if you and I are not willing to forgive others when they repent then God will not forgive us either. So, as Christians we must learn to forgive people or can cost our soul. The reason why Jesus taught this parable was because of what Peter asked just before it.
Matthew 18:21 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.
We need to
understand that Jewish tradition tells us that the rabbis back then taught that
a person was obligated to forgive a person 3 times and that was it. But, Peter
using the number 7, which to the Jew symbolized the complete or perfect number.
He probably thought he was being very generous. But, notice Jesus says, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but
up to seventy times seven.Ē When Jesus says this, He has in mind an infinite amount of times.
This verse alone should be encouraging to us as Christians because we all know
that God will not ask us to do something that he is unwilling to do.
Ephesians 4:32 †And be kind to one another, tenderhearted,
forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.
Colossians 3:13 bearing
with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against
another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
Not only are we to
forgive our brothers and sisters without limit this means that our heavenly
father will also forgive us of our sins without limit when we repent. Now, you
might have notice throughout this lesson that have been saying that we must
forgive someone when they repent. The reason why I have been stressing that is
because God requires us to do what He is willing to do. The Bible makes it
clear that we must repent before we can become a child of God and after we
become a child of God, we must repent and confess our sins to God so that they
Luke 13:3 "I
tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.
1 John 1:9 If we
confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to
cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Revelation 2:5 "Remember
therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I
will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place -- unless you
To the church at
Thyatira John records this about a woman named Jezebel,
"And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not
repent.† 22 "Indeed I
will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great
tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds.
God makes repentance necessary for forgiveness of sin because He does not forgive people their sins without action on their part. If He did then we could teach the false doctrine of one saved always saved and we could go about sinning daily without concern if God forgives us unconditionally without repentance and it would make Paul statements that we can fall from Grace (Gal. 5:4) or that we should take heed lest we fall (1 Cor. 10:12) false statements. However, it is very easy to see that we have responsibility when it comes to our forgiveness and to the forgiveness of others.
We need to realize that forgiveness means that when a sin has been committed against us it is supposed to be forgotten and we enter back into full fellowship with the offender and we are to offer this type of forgiveness without limit when the repent.
However if a person sins against you and they do not repent we are not obligated forgive that person because God would not. If we continue to do so, we are doing that person a great injustice because it encourages them to continue to sin against people with no ramifications. Now please keep in mind that forgiveness means that what they did is forgotten and it restores our relationship with them. When we continue to do this we are neglecting our responsibilities as Christians.
"Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him;
and if he repents, forgive him.† 4
"And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day
returns to you, saying, 'I repent,' you shall forgive him." †
Sometimes we find it easier to overlook a sin than to tell our brother or sister what they did, but as you can see Jesus tells us to rebuke them. The reason why we do this is so that person can know that they have sinned against you. Sometimes a person can be unaware that they have done something wrong and faithful Christian should want to know if they have sinned. You might be surprised when you point out something someone has done to you they might thank you. But whether they do or not it is our responsibility to show that person where they have sinned and notice IF they repent then forgive them.
Now certainly there are things that we can overlook as we show our love for one another. Just because someone hurt you feelings because they said something that caused you pain doesnít necessarily mean that they sinned against you and when we have things like this happen to us that are not a Biblical sin we should be willing to overlook that event unless it continues to happen. Again, if a Christian is guilty of this and their attitude and the behavior is not changing and they continue to hurt others with their words they need to be informed because they probably donít realize what they are saying is causing problems.
Jesus tells us exactly how we are to handle those who have sinned against us.
Matthew 18:15 "
Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between
you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.† 16 "But if he will not hear,
take with you one or two more, that 'by the mouth of two or three witnesses
every word may be established.'† 17
"And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he
refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax
This is easy 3 step
process that Jesus tells about. First, we tell the offender what they did was
wrong on your own. If they will not listen, then you are to take 2 or 3 witness
along, so they can hear the offence and hear the response of the offender.
Third, if they still will not repent of what they did then the matter is to
brought before the church and if they still refuse to repent then they are to
Some may view this as a harsh
and cruel message, but it is not. This process is used to get the offender to
realize what they did was a sin and that they need to take care of that sin by
repenting so they can be right with God.
Now, let me tell what
this does not mean. It does not mean that we are treat this person badly
instead, Paul tells us,
2 Thessalonians 3:14 And if
anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep
company with him, that he may be ashamed.†
15 Yet do not count him as an enemy, but admonish him
as a brother.
During this time if
discipline doesnít give us the right to treat as an enemy or render evil for
evil. Even in regards to our enemies Jesus says this,
"But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good
to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute
you,† 45 "that you may be
sons of your Father in heaven
Obviously if we are
supposed to do this for our enemies, certainly we can see that we are not to
treat our fallen brother or sister with anger or disdain.
Finally, the last thing I
want to point out is that we should always have a forgiving spirit, which means
you are always ready to forgive. Now, some get confused between having a
forgiving spirit and forgiving. To bring clarity to this I want to remind you
that forgiving someone means that their sin against you is gone and forgotten
and you are in full fellowship with them.
However, a forgiving
spirit is when someone sins against you know what they did was wrong, but you
do not hold a grudge against them and you are ready and willing to forgive them
when they repent. This is necessary for every Christians because if you donít
have forgiving spirit the sin they committed against you will eat you alive and
make you miserable. While you may resolve the issue in your mind so that you
are not vengeful or having a grudge you have not forgiven that person for the
sin and repentance must still place in order for your relationship with them to
This is very similar to
the way God works in our lives. He loves and cares for us and always ready to
forgive. However, he does not offer forgiveness until we repent. This concept
can be seen through out the entire Bible.
conclusion, let us always rejoice about the wonderful word of forgiveness and
praise God that He was willing to give us His son as a perfect sacrifice so
that we could have the forgiveness of our sins. We have learned that just as
God forgives us when we repent we must also forgive those who sin against us
and then repent. We learned that we have responsibility as Christians to rebuke
those who sin against us so that they may repent for their sin and be right
with God and with us. Finally we learned that we should always have forgiving
spirit so that we donít hold a grudge and we are always ready to forgive those