Forgiveness: A Reflection
of God's Character

Sermon Summary
On Sunday we looked at forgiveness as a character trait (and example to follow) of
God and a Biblical story on forgiveness told by Jesus.

Community Group
1. Why is the subject of forgiveness something everyone, one way or another, can
relate to?
2. Why should Christians be interested in knowing if God is forgiving God or not?
3. (Read the following verses)* Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23 & Romans 5:8. When we
link these verses together, how do we get a glimpse of God's forgiving nature? What
was His motivation to forgive?
4. In Matthew 18:21-35 Jesus tells an allegorical story on forgiveness. Why was he
so hard on the first slave at the end of the story?
5. According to the message on Sunday, how does forgiveness set us free and why
is it so important to forgive?

Forgiveness: A Reflection
of God's Character
Matthew 18:21-35

Who needs to be forgiven in the following picture?

Losing your teeth in 3...2...1

Today we will be talking about forgiveness
Now, I know what some of you are thinking
"Oh great, another pastor who's going to be telling me I
need to forgive someone who hurt or wronged me"
You may be like my son (kidding around) when my wife
asks him to do the dishes
"You don't know me. You don't know my life. You don't
know what I've been through"

Introduction 2
For the most part this is true I don't know what you've
been through. Who wronged you or who you have
wronged or hurt.
But, as Christians (people who have placed their faith in
Christ) we try to live our lives according to a set of truths
and principles found in the Bible...presupposing that
God has some insight into what is best for us and our

Introduction 3
So, what does God have to say about forgiveness?
When it comes to being wronged or wronging someone
else, does He have some some sort of instruction?
Is He a forgiving God? Can we get a glimpse of how we
should act by looking at His interaction with us?
(Assuming His way is perfect and by following it we are
doing things correctly)

Introduction 4
First we are going to look in the Book of Romans at a
case study of a time God was wronged.
Did He forgive and seek to make things right or did He
break out the lightning bolts and take out those who
messed with Him (He's definitely able to do so...He's
Then we will jump over to a few verses in Matthew 18
where Jesus is specifically asked what we should do
when someone wrongs us.

• To grant pardon for or remission; absolve
• To give up all claim on account of; remit
• To grant a pardon to
• To cease to feel resentment against
• To cancel an indebtedness or liability

God & Forgiveness
According to the Bible, can we say that God is a
forgiving God and sets an example for us to follow?
Let's look at a case study

Romans 3:23
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of
God" (NIV)
"For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God's
glorious standard" (NLT)
"Since we've compiled this long and sorry record as
sinners and proved that we are utterly incapable of living
the glorious lives God wills for us" (MSG)

God's Example
For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God
So we had a good thing going with God. He created us,
loved us and we screwed it up.
The relationship was good...perfect even and then
comes the willful, deliberate, action of knowing it was
wrong and doing it anyway.
Before we give Adam and Eve a hard time let's all stop
and think of a time each of us has been in our own
"garden", known it was wrong and did it anyway.

God's Options
Did God have options when dealing with us?
Violating that trust was pretty serious. He did nothing
wrong and we did...not just once but repeatedly.
If you loved, helped and trusted someone and they
broke your heart. What would you do?

Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is
eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NIV)
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is
eternal life though Jesus Christ our Lord. (NLT)
Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is
death. But God's gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by
Jesus, our Master. (MSG)

God's Response
God's response was to provide a way for the relationship
to be restored, repaired, renewed.
It is interesting and relevant to note that doing so cost
God something. (The free GIFT of God- Jesus)
Why would He do such a thing? Why would He give up
something so precious for us AFTER we screwed up?

Romans 5:8
But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While
we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (NIV)
But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ
to die for us while we were still sinners. (NLT)
But God put His love on the line for us by offering His
Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use
whatsoever to Him. (MSG)

Why God, Why?
God did it because He loves us.
God did it because He loves you.
God's love was not predicated upon our response. He
loved us "while we were still sinners" with full knowledge
that many of us would and some of us would not
respond to his offer of forgiveness based on His love.

What can we learn from God's example?
What does it, if anything, have to do with us?
Is it pie in the sky (something to look up to but cannot be
Is there a case where a person asked God about
forgiveness and got a specific answer?

Matthew 18:21-22
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many
times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against
me? Up to seven times?"
Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy
times seven." (NIV)

NO WAY! You gotta be kidding me! I just did the math
and that's 490 times...and I'm pretty sure you're going to
say that means a bunch more.
You're probably thinking back to what my son says about
the dishes
You don't know me. You don't know my life. You don't
know what I've been through.
Why in the world would I want to forgive someone, more
than once, who wronged or hurt me?

Jesus Know Us:)
So he follows up with an allegorical story that paints a
picture of relative forgiveness

Matthew 18:23-35
For this reason the kingdom of God can be compared to
a king who wanted to settle accounts with his slaves.
When he began to settle accounts, one who owed
10,000 talents was brought before him. Since he had no
way to pay it back, his master commanded that he, his
wife, his children, and everything he had to be sold to
pay the debt.

At this, the slave fell facedown before him and said, 'Be
patient with me, and I will pay you everything!' Then the
master of that slave had compassion, released him and
forgave him the loan.

How big was the debt?
10,000 talents was more money than was circulating in
all of Palestine. The talent was the largest unit of
currency (equivalent to approximately 6,000 days worth
of wages) and 10,000 is the highest single number that
can be expressed in Greek. (HCSB)
If he and his family worked their whole lives, they could
not pay off this debt, and it was forgiven.
Grateful much?

Matthew 23-35 (cont)
But that slave went out and found one of his fellow
slaves who owed him 100 denarii (equivalent to three
months of peasant wages). He grabbed him, started
choking him, and said, 'Pay what you owe!' At this, his
fellow slave fell down and began begging him, 'Be
patient with me and I will pay you back.'

But he wasn't willing. On the contrary, he went and
threw him into prison until he could pay what was owed.
When the other slaves saw what had taken place, they
were deeply distressed and went and reported to their
master everything that happened.

Then, after he had summoned him, his master said to
him, 'You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt
because you begged me. Shouldn't you also have
mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?' And
his master got angry and handed him over to the jailers
to be tortured until he could pay everything that was
owed. So My Heavenly Father will also do to you if each
of you does not forgive his brother from his heart.

So what is Jesus trying to say here?
Is he saying, "If you don't forgive you're going to be
handed over and tortured"? Is that the point of this
Or is he saying
God, the Father, has offered us forgiveness for every
bad (sin) thing we've ever done (10,000 talents worth)
and passing it on to those around us is a part of
accepting that forgiveness from Him?

Forgiveness does not
Justify a wrong
Whether it's something we've knowingly done wrong
against God or others
Whether it's something that was done to us
The offer of forgiveness does not mean that the offense
was means we let go of revenge, resentment,
being owed something...

Forgiveness sets us free
Forgiveness from God sets us free from the payment of
Forgiveness of others releases us from bondage to the
past, to the person, to the sets us free.
Now I know that's a hard sell but I want you to think about
it. Have you known of a person who has been wronged
and not been able to "let it go" (forgive)? What does
holding onto that bitterness do to them? Is it something
that isn't apparent or does that root of bitterness show up
in their lives?

None of us are exempt from this scriptural truth.
Either we follow God's example of forgiveness (based in
love) in our own lives or we are like the second guy in the
story and we hold onto the wrong and end up in

Example: I recently had a bout of unforgiveness crop
back up in my life.
Feelings of anger and resentment were popping up as a
result of some new interactions and I found myself
dwelling on something I'd let go of a long time a go...but
due to whatever circumstances I'd begun to pick it back
up... and it was apparent in not only my relationship with
the person but in my walk with God.
you see

Forgiveness is ongoing
Just like God's forgiveness is ongoing and ever present
in our lives
Our forgiveness needs to be likewise. We have to keep
letting it go so that bondage and bitterness do not take
hold in our hearts.

So what do we do with this information?
Two Things
One: Let's take a moment to think on the total amount of
things (some...many if you're me, are repeat offenses) for
which we've been forgiven by God. Seriously, take a
moment and think on them. 10,000 talents
Two: Now think about someone who has either wronged
you, hurt you (accidentally or on purpose) and you are
holding onto the hope for their downfall or for revenge.
100 denarii

Today, right now with God's help, start letting it go and
Forgive and let the hurt be in your past, not in your future.
Just as God set you free in Christ, give yourself freedom from
bitterness and bondage. Set your eyes on what's before you
and not what's behind.
God hears your prayer right where you are, outside on the way
home or at this altar. You choose and start your journey today.
Or maybe you want to pray for someone who is hurting. Open
for that as well. Whatever it is, God is one prayer away.