True Forgiveness

What is the limit of forgiveness?


Jesus indicates that there is no limit to forgiveness.

He then tells them a story

  • The debt
  • The redeemer
  • The redemption
  • The debtor

True Forgiveness:

  • Is eternally grateful to the Redeemer
  • Initiates reconciliation
  • Loves
  • Forgets
  • Believes

Bible Passage

Matt 18:21-35;Luke 17.3,4; John 20.23

Matthew 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.

Bible Passage

Matt 18:26 “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.

Bible Passage

Matt 18:28 “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

Bible Passage

Matt 18:31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

Bible Passage

Matt 18:32 “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.

35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

The debt

A man had a debt of 10000 bags of gold. – Worth a fortune. That virtually no one can even afford.

The debt of sin we owe is unrepayable

Everyone on earth owes it. No person on earth can pay it.

Many have tried. All have failed.

The debt

Sin not only separates us from God

It enslaves us

It’s attractiveness traps many in the world

It lures us into eventual doom and sorrow

It deceives into thinking that the temporary kicks of happiness it gives is worth it.

It drags us into a quagmire into which we go deeper and deeper till it’s too late to come out. Too late to reach for the Redeemer.

The debt

Many of those who live the apparent “beautiful wrinkle free life” in the world of fame and fortune

Are fighting their own demons

Are into alcohol, drugs and immorality

And getting dragged deeper into a quagmire of pain.

The deception of the world gets to them so deep, they can never come out of it.

So also the rest of us. We are all in eternal debt.

The Redeemer

Just as Christ has redeemed us at great cost, he expects us to do the same for others and forgive them.

While He is just, he is even more compassionate. God provided a way out. In the passage, the master is ready to forgive the debtor of all his debt and set him free for life. No strings attached.

The Redeemer

God has done the same for us through the only Redeemer, Jesus who paid an exhorbitant price to redeem us.

Are we grateful to our redeemer?

While we will never understand the extent of His forgiveness, we can only begin to do so as we:

Experience and demonstrate His grace

Forgive unconditionally to those who seek it.

Reflect His life and love to those around us.

The Debtor

If the person agrees, closure on the sin should be attempted before injured parties and God.
Forgiveness should be attempted with complete closure

The subsequent passage is on forgiveness.

Focus should be on God’s forgiveness and helping to get the new start.

The Debtor

When we receive redemption, we need to be infinitely grateful.

Those who hurt us are also loved by our redeemer.

We hurt Him if we hurt others or cannot forgive them.

We hurt Him if we hold hurt in our lives with bitterness.

The Debtor

When we bathe in His forgiveness, we need to let go of all hurts on our lives.

When we bask in His mercy, we also need to show mercy

As he has wiped out our past, we need to be ready to wipe out the past of others as well.

As he views us with love we need to embrace the most unlovely and hurtful.

The Debtor

A debtor cannot hold on to small debts when he or she owes a big one.

Jesus emphasizes that it is morally incorrect not to forgive others especially when they have apologized, when we have been forgiven all our sins.

True Forgiveness

We pray for Him to limit His forgiveness to the level of ours.

“And forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors:” Matthew 6:12


True Forgiveness

Luke 17:3 So watch yourselves.

“If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. 4 Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”

John 20:23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”


True Forgiveness


Christ has paid for us a debt we could never repay.

He has then used that to redeem us from sin.

When we ask for forgiveness

There is therefore no limit to forgiveness


True Forgiveness


What if a person has sinned and not repented?

Jesus tells us that we need to take the initiative to reconcile. If that sin affects the church, it needs to be highlighted to the church in stages first with a few others, then with elders.

This process should always involve the person who has sinned and going behind the person’s back is unbiblical.


True Forgiveness


If the sin against us is a personal matter and we have not been asked forgiveness??

We first try to reconcile.

If that doesn’t happen?

The answer lies in the all inclusive command of Christ – LOVE

My mother says forgive in your heart and forget.

As Joseph did. Even before his brothers asked forgiveness, he forgave them.


True Forgiveness


In Genesis 41:51, Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh and said, “It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.”

Everytime he called his son, he remembered “God has made me forget

God is bigger than the trouble and hurt we are caused. His blessings by far out-shadow it.

True Forgiveness


When Joseph was asked forgiveness he said Genesis 50:20 ”You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

True forgiveness has true faith in believing Romans 8:28 “God works all things together for God for those who love Him who serve Him according to His purpose”.

Faith is reflected in forgiveness


1.Some wounds cut deep. What are some wounds you are still nursing in your life. What should you do about them?

2.Are you taking Christ’s forgiveness for granted? What steps can you take to recover the right perspective?

3.We can never pay back the debt we owe Christ. Yet we can honour him. How best can we do that?


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