Lesson Scriptures: Matthew 18:21-35
Key Lesson Theme: “Forgive Your Neighbor”
Today's Lesson: Friday, August 12
21 Then Peter approached him and asked, “Lord, how many times must I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? As many as seven times?”
22 “I tell you, not as many as seven,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven.”
23 “For this reason, the kingdom of heaven can be compared to a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.
24 When he began to settle accounts, one who owed ten thousand talents was brought before him.
25 Since he did not have the money to pay it back, his master commanded that he, his wife, his children, and everything he had be sold to pay the debt.
26 “At this, the servant fell facedown before him and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you everything.’
27 Then the master of that servant had compassion, released him, and forgave him the loan.
28 “That servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him, started choking him, and said, ‘Pay what you owe!’
29 “At this, his fellow servant fell down and began begging him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’
30 But he wasn’t willing. Instead, he went and threw him into prison until he could pay what was owed.
31 When the other servants saw what had taken place, they were deeply distressed and went and reported to their master everything that had happened.
32 Then, after he had summoned him, his master said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me.
33 Shouldn’t you also have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’
34 And because he was angry, his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured until he could pay everything that was owed.
35 So also my heavenly Father will do to you unless every one of you forgives his brother or sister from your heart.”
Live It Out
Who of us hasn’t been wronged? Of course, we all have. So, the question is, how did you deal with a wrong done to you? We can forgive, thus, free ourselves from the anger we have toward the offender; or we can allow the wrong to fester to the point of making us bitter. Some shy away from practicing forgiveness; they think doing so will be perceived as condoning or enabling inappropriate behavior, or that the person will feel free to repeat the behavior knowing that he or she will be forgiven. Jesus does not give any wiggle room on this issue. When a person confesses and repents of an offense, the believer is to respond with forgiveness. It is plain and simple. We cannot claim to be a people who love God if we do not love our neighbor—whoever our neighbor is. And if we love our neighbor, we will forgive him or her when they offend us.
Inevitably, the question surfaces about the relationship between forgiving and forgetting. Dr. Hobbs commented on that issue. “While a wrong done to us may still be in our minds, however, it need not be in our hearts. This means that we do not continue to hold in our hearts the wrong done to us. If God has put our sins behind us, we can do the same with the sins others commit against us. Because of His infinite love, mercy, and grace, God chooses in Christ to regard our sins as never having existed. We can do the same if we have the will to do so. We can regard the sin committed against us as never having existed. Failure at this point robs us of joy and usefulness in our Christian lives.” So, even if we remember the offense, we do not have to harbor ill feelings or evil thoughts in our hearts toward the offender. We forgive—and keep on forgiving. That is what Jesus did, and that is what He would have us do.
Reflect on the goodness of God in forgiving you for your sin. How is His forgiveness an expression of His love?
With whom do you have a broken relationship in which you are withholding forgiveness? What is preventing you from doing so?
With whom do you have a broken relationship in which you need to seek forgiveness; first from God and then from the person you offended? What is preventing you from doing so?
Until next week Saints…..
Every day is Sunday