Matters of the Heart

Forgiveness is a concept that Jesus frequently discussed.

Yet, it’s one of the hardest teachings for us to accept.

In Jesus’ time on earth, Rabbis taught  that you should forgive 3 times. Peter, wanting to have the right answer, Asks Jesus: 1) “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me?Up to seven times?”- Mt 18:21 Peter is pretty confident in his question 1. He’s more than doubled the standard. 2. Used the Biblical number for completeness. He’s waiting for an accolade. Then Jesus replies: 2) Mt 18:22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Some translations word it: 70x7 Jesus’ Point: 3) We should never keep track of  how many times we forgive someone. The question likely frustrated Jesus. He immediately jumps into  The Parable of the Unforgiving Debtor 4) Mt 18:23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay,the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. 26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. This debt was inconceivable. In today’s dollars,  it was in the Billions. In Jesus’ time, an unpaid debt  could result in slavery (whole family) This guy didn’t face slavery, He was forgiven. Yet, the story isn’t over. 5) 28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. 29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ 30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. The guy who’s been forgiven of Billions,  has loaned a friend $10K. Instead of extending grace,  he has him thrown into jail. The community is shocked. 6) 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. 32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. At this point, everyone in the audience is  1. Clapping 2. Saying, “Right on Jesus!” Then Jesus hits them  with this harsh reality. 7) 35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” Jesus uses this parable to illustrate  the importance of forgiveness. He says: “Your debt is in the billions.” You can’t even come close  to paying your sin debt. Imagine your sin as  a runaway credit card. The bank forgot  to put a limit on it. Furthermore, they forgot to bill you. Imagine all the stuff you would buy. Many years down the road,  their accounting department catches the mistake. You get a certified letter & a call from their attorney. They’re going to liquidate your liquid. That’s the picture of your sin. You’ve been doing it  for a LONG time. You’re STILL doing it. You can’t stop sinning. You need HELP!!!! Then, Jesus came along. He forgave you. Even though your still sinning,  He’s still forgiving. Then, somebody sins against YOU. 8) It’s really bad. They’ve: -hurt your feelings -embarrassed you -stolen from you It’s a pain like  you’ve never experienced. And you can’t get over it. You can’t seem move past it. How dare they? How could you be so betrayed? You’ve been so good to them & they stab you in the back. In your mind,  you never forgive them. Jesus’ point (in this parable) 9)Forgiving others isn’t optional.    It’s mandatory! The consequences of (unforgiveness) that Jesus outlines aren’t pleasant. 9) 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. Jesus clearly alludes to hell. He talks about: -torture -suffering He will remain in this state  "until he should pay back all he owed.” (FOREVER) 10) If we truly realized the magnitude of How Much we’ve been forgiven,  we would never hesitate to forgive others. What we see as a  Massive sin against us, God sees differently. He says, “It’s a few thousand dollars. Forget it.” “Compared to how much I’ve forgiven,  it’s nothing.” The consequence of unforgiveness  are too great. It’s a Heaven & Hell Issue. If that’s not difficult enough, Then Jesus says: 11) 35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” When it comes from the heart,  It’s REAL. It’s not lip service, It’s more. Again, Forgiveness from the heart isn’t optional. I want to close this message  with a prayer. I’m going to ask you  to repeat after me. Let’s Pray: “Lord Jesus, my sin is huge.” “I could never pay that debt.” “Others have sinned against me.” “Yet, their sin is small, compared to mine." “In obedience to you God,  I forgive them from my heart.” “I’m letting it go & finding freedom.” “Thank you for forgiving me.” In Jesus’ name, AMEN"

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