Today’s theme: Jesus calls us to forgive others from the heart. Forgiveness is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of strength. Some questions: 1.Do you think that forgiveness is a sign of weakness? Why or why not? Examples? 2.Brainstorm a definition of ‘Forgiven.’ 3.Name some specific offenses you have had to forgive or have needed to be forgiven. 4.How can you tell if forgiveness is genuine and complete? 5.Is there any validity to the phrase “forgive and forget?” Why or why not? 6.What offenses would be particularly difficult for you to forgive?
Matthew 18:21-35 The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant 21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. 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 talents a 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 “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. 28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii b. 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 you back.’ 30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed 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 turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.” a ten thousand talents; value today x $ = 1.5 billion dollars b hundred denarii; value today 100 x $25 = 2,500 dollars
Jesus’ words in Matthew 6: For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Analysis questions 1.Who are the persons in the parable? 2.What sin has the unmerciful servant been confronted with? What words would you use to describe his character? 3.Give some adjectives to describe the king. 4.What is motivating the king’s forgiveness? 5.What did the servant do after been forgiven by the king? Why is his action so shocking? 6.Who do you think “the king” in Jesus’ parable is representing? 7.Which attributes of God’s character are found in the King’s actions? 8.Matthew 18:21 reads “ Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?”. Peter thinks he is being quite generous in offering to forgive someone up to seven times. However, Jesus turns the whole concept around, saying we should forgive an unlimited number of times. Considering all that Jesus has forgiven us, why do we find it hard to follow this command? 9.Seeking God’s forgiveness is highly important when we sin. Why is it also important to seek forgiveness from those we’ve offended or hurt? 10.What do you learn from man (humans) in this parable?
Application Questions 11.What can I do to build genuine relationships so that my close friends are comfortable sharing faults with me? 12.Do I need to change to become Christ-like? 13.Am I willing to make a commitment to build genuine, honest relationships? 14.Am I willing to seek forgiveness when needed? 15.Am I willing to forgive generously?