“The Gift of Forgiveness” Part 4 Matthew 18:21-35
May 19, 2013
One of our greatest needs that impacts our relationship with God and others is forgiveness. We need to be forgiven by God and others and we need to forgive others. In Matthew 18:21-35 Jesus addresses the necessity of forgiveness. Peter suggests the challenge of forgiveness with his question, “How many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me…?” In many instances, expressing forgiveness to a person once is difficult enough. However, forgiveness is to be a part of who we are. We are people who have been forgiven by God. Therefore, we are to forgive as God has forgiven us.
In the beginning of Matthew 18, Jesus desribes people of the kingdom of God as children. We are to enter the kingdom as children (humbly), welcome each other as we would a child, keep one another from sinning, avoid despising one another, go after one another if we wander, discipline one another and finally, forgive as children.
In part 2 of this series, we examined Jesus’ response to Peter’s question and learned the first of three key characteristics of forgiveness. Jesus taught that our willingness and inclination to forgive others should be limitless. He tells the story of the king who forgave his servant’s debt to explain why we need to forgive in that manner. God’s forgiveness means that He “cancels our debt.” When we forgive others, we cancel their debt and release them from what is owed to us. God’s forgiveness is unlimited and is a reflection of His character of love and compassion. We should forgive others as we have been forgiven. That is how and why we should forgive one another.
In part 3 of the series, we suggested that when we forgive others we, “cut the rope.” This means that we give up the right and desire to personally punish the person who has injured us.
In part 4, the final part of the series, we will unwrap the gift and will reveal the third key quality of forgiveness.