Matthew

Matthew 18:21-35: The Unforgiving Servant

The subject of forgiveness is one of, if not THE mark of a true Christian. It is one of the most important things that you need to learn how to do.  The teaching of Jesus Christ on this subject is absolutely powerful and very radical and it cuts against the grain. In fact Jesus gave one of His great parables on the subject of forgiveness. It does sound like a cliché for one to say “forgiveness is lovely, forgiveness is nice, you should forgive”. It all seems very nice until somebody really hurts you, and then suddenly it’s all a bit different.  It seems unreasonable all of a sudden:  “Why should I forgive that person?  Don’t you realise what she/he did to me?   I don’t see why I should forgive that person.”  Jesus is absolutely uncompromising about forgiveness. I once read a story about a husband who, in his conversation with his friends said of his wife, “Whenever I do something wrong, she gets historical.”  And they said, “You don’t mean that, you mean hysterical, don’t you?”  And he said, “No she gets historical.  She begins to drag up everything I’ve ever done in my life.”

 

Forgiveness means wiping the slate clean, even when they may not deserve it. 

Forgiveness is not pretending that what they did was somehow okay.  Forgiveness is not trying to play down or minimise what has been done. Forgiveness is to look at what was done to you in its full horror and to wipe the slate clean. 

Forgiveness is refusing to punish, judge or take it out against that person.

It takes the grace of God to sincerely forgive someone.  

The parables of Jesus were not just nice stories.  Sometimes we read them from a distance and we think they are just nice stories.  Actually they are stories that have a great punch to them.  One example of a parable was in the Old Testament where King David committed adultery with Bathsheba, and in order to get Bathsheba’s husband out of the way, he arranged for him to get killed in the war.  So David was guilty of murder as well, but somehow in the hardness of his heart he didn’t realise what wrong he had done.  So God sent a prophet called Nathan into the presence of David and Nathan didn’t just say, “You are wrong, David.”  Nathan began telling a story, a parable, and he brought David involved into the situation and he told this story in which there was a great villain and he said that this rich man had all that he wanted while there was a poor man next door who didn’t have anything except one precious lamb.  David is getting interested.  Nathan continued saying the rich man had someone coming to dinner but did not want to use any of his riches, so he took the poor man’s lamb and slaughtered it.  David is getting absolutely mad right now.  Nathan asks David what he should do about this rich man.  David says, “He should be killed!”  He has been brought into this story.  Then Nathan says, “You are the man”.  And David has been trapped by the story because he was the one – he had taken from Uriah the one precious thing Uriah owned – even though David had the choice of all he wanted from the kingdom.  He was big enough to hit his knees, repent and ask God’s forgiveness. (2 Samuel 12:1-7)

We will now look at the parable that Jesus told in Matthew 18. 

Matthew 18:21:  Then came Peter to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him?  Till seven times?”  Jesus said unto him, “I say not unto thee until seven times but until seventy times seven.” (That is four hundred and ninety.)  “Therefore is the Kingdom of Heaven likened to a certain King which would take account of His servants” meaning that the king is bringing his servants before him and they have got to give an account of themselves.  “And when He had begun to reckon, one was brought to Him that owed Him ten thousand talents” (about twenty million pounds).    “As much as he had not to pay, his Lord commanded him to be sold and his wife and children, and all that he had and payment to be made.  The servant therefore fell down and worshipped him, begged him, saying ‘Lord have patience with me and I will pay you all.’ Then the Lord of the servant was moved with compassion and loosed him and forgave him the debt.” 

If somebody took twenty million pounds from you, wouldn’t you find it hard to just let go of it?   This is a lot of money, and it was even more in those days.  The average wage was something like twenty pence a week, so you can imagine what twenty million pounds would be.

“And then the Lord of the servant was moved with compassion and loosed him and forgave him the debt.  But the same servant went out and found one of his fellow servants that owed him a hundred pence” (about twelve pounds).   “And he laid hands on him…” not to pray for him and to bless him, he actually laid hands on his throat to throttle him.  “He laid hands on him and took him by the throat”and this is what they would do in those days if you wanted to put someone in prison you would grab them by the throat and you would haul them down to the prison or to the courts. … saying, ‘Pay me what you owe me.’  And his fellow servant fell down onto his feet and besought him saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will pay you all.’  But he would not, but went and cast him into prison until he should pay the debt.  So when his fellow servants saw what was done, they were very sorry and came and told unto their Lord all that was done.  And then his Lord, after He had called him, said to him, ‘O thou wicked servant!  I forgave you all that debt because you asked me.  Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, even as I had compassion on you?’  And his Lord was wrothed and delivered him to the tormentors till he should pay all that was due unto Him.  So likewise,” and here is the message, “shall my Heavenly Father do also unto you if you do not, from your hearts, forgive every one, his brother, their trespasses” (or their sins).

That is a very powerful parable when you get into it.  Who is the villain?  It is this man who has been forgiven twenty million pounds and he is such a small person that when he meets someone who owes him twelve pounds he really takes it out on him and makes him suffer for it.  What a terrible thing that is.  But the message that Jesus is getting across is that this is exactly how we are.  We have been forgiven a mountain of sin.  And yet somebody does something little against us that looks like a grain of sand compared to that mountain and we really get upset.  We want to torture them, we want to put them in prison, we want them to suffer, and there we are.  We have been freely forgiven by the Lord.  We are the villain of this piece.

So we are going to take a little journey through this parable.  It is called The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant. Jesus had been talking about forgiveness in the church.  In verse 20, He had said, “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.”  And verse 19 H e said, “If two of you shall agree on earth touching anything they ask it shall be done for them of My Father in heaven.” And He is saying, in the church it is so important that we are united, that we are of one heart and one mind, because only then are our prayers going to be answered.  We can only impact those around us for the Lord Jesus if we are of one heart and one mind.  That means we have got to learn how to forgive one another when we tread on each other’s toes, we have got to learn how to forgive others.  We have got to keep the unity of the Spirit in order for the power of God to really flow through us together. 

Because the current teaching of that time was that of the Pharisees, which was considered to be the best, Peter was thinking, ‘wow the Lord is really radical in this teaching’. The teaching of the Pharisees was basically this:  One time we will forgive, two times we will forgive, even three times we will forgive.  But four times we will not forgive.  Okay?  Three is the limit.  I can take once, I can take twice, with a great stretch and a great spiritual flex of my muscles I can handle three times, but the fourth time, that is too much.  And they felt very righteous in not forgiving.   So Peter comes to him (verse 21) and says, ‘Lord how often should my brother sin against me and I forgive him.  Till seven times?’  Wow.  ‘Lord are you saying that I should be twice as good as these Pharisees, that not just three times, but seven times?’  But Jesus as usual has a surprise. He takes the limits off.  Verse 22 He says, ‘No I never said that, I never said you should forgive seven times.’  That is what He says.  So Peter is thinking, ‘Phew, I thought that was a bit radical.’  Jesus says, ‘No, I am telling you seven times seventy times.  Four hundred and ninety times.’ What Jesus is really saying here is, you must forgive.  There must be no limits on your forgiveness.  You must forgive freely.  We must perfectly and completely forgive. 

If we are honest, what Jesus said is very strong and very difficult to understand.  How could this be possible?  But Jesus kindly explains why this is the only way to live.  And He tells the parable like this.

The King in the parable represents God.  The King’s servant represents us, especially when we don’t forgive.  Then the servant’s servant, the other character, is anyone who owes us because they have sinned against us, they have hurt us, they are in our debt. 

So let’s look at the parable:  First of all, the first stage of the parable is the King and I.  And it’s all about the forgiveness that we have all received from the King, from the Lord.  That is in verse 23.  And He says, “The Kingdom of Heaven is likened to a certain King which would take account of His servants.”  He is saying, ‘I had better check up on my servants and see what they are getting up to.’  And this particular servant had not been very good.  He had probably borrowed a bit of money and probably gambled on it, or he had lost it somehow.  He spent it frivolously, he thought, ‘the King is too busy, He will never check up on me.’  He was probably a very high servant to have access to all that money. 

“And when they started to reckon”, you may think that God doesn’t watch what is going on in our lives but there is a reckoning by the way. He is watching us all very closely, and there is a day that we will stand before Him.  There is a day we will give account to Him.  And it says, “He was brought to Him that owed Him the twenty million pounds” but of course he didn’t have the money, and the natural thing is that he will have to pay it back.  And he and his family will have to pay for it with their life.  They are to be sold into slavery to make part payment for this great debt.  They were basically going to have a living death. And you know, were it not for the grace of God that would be our destiny.  We would be sold into a living death, an eternal place of separation from God and darkness.  We would be slaves in prison for ever because of this huge debt that we owe God. 

Do you know, as God’s creatures, we owe God our love, our obedience, our submission in the totality of our lives?  The Commandment is “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy mind, with all they soul, with all thy strength.”  But do we always fulfil our obligation to God as creatures to our creator?  No we don’t.  And whenever we sin, that is like a debt.  We owe God.  We have let Him down. We have turned against Him.  And there is this mounting pile of debt that our sin is causing. 

Self examination

Do you know that  even if I sinned just three sins a day, three bad thoughts, three wrong words, three bad attitudes, three selfish things that I did.  Three things that I didn’t do that I should have done.  Do you realise in a year that would be a thousand sins?  In a lifetime perhaps seventy thousand sins.  What an enormous amount of forgiveness I need.  Psalm 40 says that our sins are more than the hairs on our head. Now that is a lot!  And the Bible says we forget 99% of what goes on.  We are ignorant of 99% of our wrong doings.  So all of us, have a huge mountain of debt that we owe. 

The Ten Commandments

Just to highlight this to us I thought it would be interesting to take a quick trip through the Ten Commandments.  The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) were given for our blessing.  For if we will live by them we will be blessed.  If a society will live by the Ten Commandments there will be great freedom and blessing in that society.  The Ten Commandments are also to show us how much we have sinned and how much forgiveness we need.

Commandment One:  Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.

This is saying here that nothing and no one should be more important to us than God.  Your god is what you love, what you seek, what you worship, what you serve, what you allow to control you.  That is your god. Whatever is first in your priorities, that is your god.  And God says “You shall have no other gods before Me, I must be number one in your life.  That is the first Commandment.  And how many times have we broken that?  Colossians 3:5 says that what you covet in your heart is your god.  It is your idol because that thing that you covet after is the thing that controls your life.  God must come first.  The loyalty and devotion of our heart must be first of all be to God and if we put God first we will also have more and more capacity for love for other people, and we will have greater capacity to enjoy the things in this world.  But the essence of sin is that we let something else come in the place of God.  Thou shalt love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength.

 

If these Commandments bring you under conviction, that is fine.  It is to show us how much we need God’s forgiveness.

Commandment Two: "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image nor any likeness of any thing that is in the heaven above, the earth beneath or that is in the water under the earth.  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them nor serve them for I the Lord am a jealous God."

What He is talking about here is that we should not reduce God to a physical likeness and worship that, whether it is a mental or a physical image.  This would be pulling God down to our earthly level.  We should not put God in a box and think that we can control God.  God is greater than anything you can imagine or see.  Don’t make some little picture of God and worship that.  That would be wrong. Because you are not worshipping the true God, you are worshipping something your imagination has conjured up.  The only way you can know and worship God is through the Bible, through what the Word of God says.  You should not make any image of God, anything that pretends to be like God, and use that in your worship, that would be wrong.  In other words, we should honour God in our imagination too.

Commandment Three (verse 7): "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that takes His name in vain".  

This is simply saying we should honour God with our words.  This is really talking about profanity; we should never take the precious name of the Lord in vain, or use it in a frivolous or insincere way. Never use the name of Jesus or of God in profanity.  We should not use God’s name to try to put something spiritual over on other people.  Especially when you are wondering if God might have spoken to you and you want to make other people fall into line with that (‘God told me.  So how dare you question me?’).

It also means, of course, that we should keep our promises.  Whether or not you invoke the name of God when making a promise (in fact if you read Jesus’ teaching, He says it does not make a difference.) This is a difficult piece of scripture but the Pharisees thought, ‘Well, if instead of swearing by God, there is a commandment that says not to do that, what if I were to swear by the temple?  Or what if I swore by this pulpit?  Then it would be alright and if I break my promise, it does not matter as I was only swearing by the temple.’  Jesus said, ‘No, when you swear by the Temple, you are also swearing by God.’  And even if you don’t invoke anything, you should always keep your word.  When you do make a promise, follow through with that promise and make it good.  That is the Godly way to be.  People swear more often now because they hear swearing all the time on the television.  Because they are aware of the weakness of their words, they feel the need to give their speech extra force by bringing in the name of God or Jesus as an exclamation.  By this they are breaking the Third Commandment. Jesus said, “let your yes be yes and no be no” anything else is of evil.

Verse 7 says, “The Lord will not hold him guiltless…”  Don’t think you will get away with that!

 

Part 2

 

Commandment Four:  "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy"

The Fourth Commandment says we should honour the Lord with our time.  We were made in God’s image and He created the world in six days and rested on the seventh day.  God made us to rest one day in seven.  In ancient Russia they tried to change the days of the week from 7 to 10 days, with the exception of one day of rest.    This resulted in people having nervous breakdowns; they were so over worked and run down that they were not surviving.  Because God made us with us with a clock, just as God made a woman to give birth in nine months or thereabouts.  So we have a clock, we are designed to operate on a seven day basis.  That is just the way God made us, and one day out of the seven we are to rest.  We will live longer that way, we will live happier that way, we will get more done that way, if we will set one day apart for rest.  Six days you can work, He says, but the seventh day should be different.  

The whole week we are often absorbed in our labours, our minds are on the things we have to do, but God says we need to have one day of natural rest and spiritual refreshment every seven.  Your thoughts should cease from your work, and get back on the Lord, it’s a time to focus again on the Lord and meditate on the Lord and make sure your life is still lining up with God’s will.  Now we don’t follow the Sabbath legalistically any more.  They would do it very strictly in the Old Testament.  It is not like that now but it is still very wise, if you want to have a good long life, to rest one day out of seven.  You will find great blessing and life.  Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath.  We honour the Lord that way.  All time is given by Him but we acknowledge that by giving Him a portion of that time each week back to Him.   Take time to come before the Lord and focus your mind on Him so that your life keeps going in God’s purposes.  The fourth commandment tells us that we must put God first in the way we structure our time.

Commandment Five (verse 12): "Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God gives thee".  

You need to have respect for authority.  Most of all, you must have respect for father and mother, respect for police, respect for those in authority.  It does not mean that they are always right, but you need to have a healthy respect for them, and that will bring the best out of them too.  Now if you have grown up it does not mean you have to obey your father and mother in everything.  While you are under their roof you need to.  But you should still respect and honour them, even if they are not Christians, it is still right to respect and honour your father and mother.  If you want to have a good life you had better do it!  That is the way God has made us.

Commandment Six (verse 13): "Thou shalt not kill".

Actually this means you shall not murder.  There are times – for example capital punishment is valid according to the Bible for certain offenses – there are certain wars that are just and it is right to kill in some circumstances.  But you should not murder, that is what He is saying here.  In other words, this is based on the fact you should have a respect for life.  Every person is sacred in the sight of God.  We are made in God’s image.  Their life is a gift from God and you should not try to destroy that life.  Murder is wrong because a life is destroyed out of vengeance and/or hatred.  It is God who gives life and they are accountable to God and ultimately they must face God.  Jesus made it clear that all malice is wrong, all revenge is wrong, all hatred in one’s heart is wrong.  When one meditates in their heart about murdering a person or when they are want them to suffer or even find delight when things go wrong for the other person, that is all the spirit of murder and hatred. 

When somebody has really hurt us, if we are honest, there is something in us that rejoices when things go wrong for them.  That rejoicing is a spirit of murder.  It’s not necessarily an evil spirit in us but rather it is a wrong attitude which goes against the sixth Commandment.  It is so important to get free from that because these little twists in our personality may turn us into an unlovely person.  This means cruelty is wrong.  Unnecessary cruelty is wrong.  Violence is wrong.  Abortion is wrong.  Suicide is wrong, because that is self-murder.  In all these things a life is being destroyed.  Life is sacred and should be blessed rather than destroyed. 

Commandment Seven: "You should not commit adultery".

This is saying that sex is sacred, marriage is sacred, and should not be abused.  God designed sex. Sex is not embarrassing to God and we should not be embarrassed by the subject of sex.  Sex is something wonderful and God designed it to be part of a committed marriage relationship and it belongs in that context.  Sex outside the marriage, is called adultery.  Fornication is sex before marriage and this is seen as an abuse of sex.  Sex is a gift from God and should not be abused.  It is something that is sacred and belongs inside marriage and that is where the blessing is.  If sex is abused rather than respected, it scars and hardens our souls. We also build confusion into our lives because we are misusing what God has given us. The best example of this is prostitutes. The hardness is evident on their faces.  They age at twice the speed.  Jesus made it clear, it is not just physical adultery, one can commit adultery in their heart.  Mental adultery as Jesus said is wrong. 

Commandment Eight(verse 8): "You shall not steal"

This shows that everyone has certain rights of private property; you have rights to your privacy.  And when one steals, they are taking what does not belong to them.  This can include a number of things.  Stealing can be in business, where you should give someone their due but you don’t.  Or you owe someone something and you are able to pay them but you do not pay them.  You are stealing from that person.  You might be an employee at work and you are being paid for eight hours work but you find ins and outs and you only put in five hours.  You are stealing from your employer.  You should give value for your money at work.  You can steal someone’s reputation when you maliciously gossip about them. Fornication:  you are stealing because in Leviticus it said that a person’s nakedness belongs only to their marriage partner.  So if you are having sex before marriage you are stealing from whoever is going to be their marriage partner because their nakedness, that special thing that God has given them, you are taking, and it does not belong to you until you are married.  Then you belong to one another when you are married, in a sense you own one another.  And then it is rightly given and you are not taking it, it belongs to you. 

Commandment Nine (verse 9): "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour".

You should not lie.  That is clear; you should not deceive other people.

Commandment Ten (verse 10): "You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass". 

In other words, we should not covet other people’s status, their goods, what they have.  We should not long for their goods, but we should long for their good.  And if we would all get our attitude right, we open the door for God’s blessing and He will increase and bless us.  Don’t covet people’s property, their relationships with other people, their status, and their assets. 

The Commandments are tough.  They are not just external, they are in the heart.

We examined the Ten Commandments so as to highlight the massive pile of sin that is forgiven us.  And in fact God continues to forgive us every day.  None of us have obeyed all the Ten Commandments or we would not have needed Jesus to die for us.  Thank God that He did.  But we have been forgiven a great pile of sin and so therefore we are like that servant who owes twenty million pounds.  We owe an enormous debt to the King because of the way we have lived.  We have accumulated a large sin debt. What did the servant do? He begged for mercy.  He fell before the king, saying, ‘King please have some patience with me.  Just give me some more time; I will pay off the debt.’  This is like a lot of people; they try to make a bargain with God. This is futile.  This man could never, if he had a thousand years, pay that debt off.  And we could never pay that debt off.  By all your goodness, all your churchgoing or whatever you do, you can never pay off the debt that you owe to God.  But the king is wonderful and gracious and He is full of compassion, for the Bible says (verse 27): “The Lord of the servant was moved with compassion and loosed him and forgave him of the debt.” 

And why did God forgive us?  Because God is love, God is compassionate.  He loves us and so He had compassion on us and thus, forgave us our debt, which He knew of ourselves, we could never pay it off.  It could only be paid off by sending Jesus.  It cost the man in the parable twenty million pounds to forgive that person.  Do you realise it cost God an awful lot to forgive us.  He had to give up His only son.  The most precious thing that He had, He had to give up His only son, Jesus Christ, to die on the Cross for our forgiveness.  It is expensive, it costs to forgive.  It is no little thing when you extend forgiveness to someone else.  It does cost.  But Jesus paid the big cost for us.  Praise God.  Indeed, it is an ‘Amazing Grace’ that saved wretched man.

But this being a fallen race, it is no guarantee that the forgiven party will appreciate the costly gift of forgiveness. As we can see in the parable, the forgiven man was not touched by the forgiveness he received. He did not show love to others and neither was he tender-hearted towards others.  Rather, he denied another person mercy, the very thing he begged his master to give him.  He handed the man over the prison to be tortured.  This is the way we are when we are hurt, isn’t it?  We want to punish them, we want to torture them.  Perhaps we do it by exploding in anger, or perhaps we do it by withholding our affection from them. Perhaps we give them the silent treatment.  This is our punishment, we are letting them suffer a bit for what they have done against us.  We devise exquisite torture for them in our mind. We imagine all kinds of terrible things that might happen to them. There are different ways we can punish people.  We can slash them with words, we can withhold our respect, we can give them the cold treatment, we can do all kinds of things.  Perhaps we think we will be played for a sucker if we forgive them.  But we are actually destroying ourselves; we are not hurting them as much as we are hurting ourselves, this is the message of the parable.  When we try to punish others, we put ourselves in prison. That is how the parable goes on.  We are destroying our peace and our joy.  God has cast our sins into the deepest sea but we love to keep hold of our grudges.  Don’t try to punish people.  Leave that to God, “Vengeance is mine says the Lord.” What this man (in the parable) was owed was so small compared to what he had been forgiven.  And yet he could not forgive that person. This goes to show how small minded people can be.  This is strong teaching that Jesus is giving.  How very soon he forgot.  But of course the Parable is like a mirror and it is shining back on us.  It helps to re-examine one’s heart.

So forgiveness is a great thing.  We should forgive one another from the heart.

There is a big principle in the Bible, which shows that the way one deals with others is the way they will be dealt with.  If one is always criticising other people, they will find that they are themselves criticised by everyone. Whatever you put out is going to come back on you.  Whatever you sow you will reap.  If you sow love and forgiveness to people who don’t deserve it you will find love and forgiveness coming back to you.  If you have no mercy you will find you will receive no mercy and that is a tough thing.  You cannot avoid that spiritual law, the way you measure it out to others, if you judge others (that is if you punish others) you will find the same thing happening to you. This is what happened in the parable.  The king said, ‘You put him in jail, you are now being put in jail.  And you will be tortured until you pay it off.’ And then Jesus says, ‘And that is the way God will deal with you if you don’t forgive one another from the heart.’ 

If we do not forgive one another, what happens, it seems, is we get out of God’s blessing.  The weight of the sins that were forgiven us, start coming back.  We find ourselves in an emotional and mental prison. We find feel tormented which then leads us to ask, ‘Why is this happening to me?’  It is because we have tried to punish someone else and it is coming back on you.  Unforgiveness attracts disaster and sickness into your life.  You become a sitting target to the devil.  Your prayers are not answered because Jesus said in Mark 11:25, (paraphrase) when you pray you can receive from God but you had better forgive those who have sinned against you if you want your Father in heaven to forgive you.  Somehow God’s forgiveness is blocked in your life and your sins weigh down heavily on you if you do not forgive.  If you forgive, the channel is open and God’s blessing can flow.  If you have sinned against someone, go to them humbly.  Don’t be presumptuous and think ‘Oh they are a Christian, they have got to forgive me’ and be hard about it.  If you have hurt someone you need to put it right, go to them and just say humbly, ‘I am so sorry, I did this and that. Please forgive me’.  You also need to be specific about what you did wrong.  You need to tell God or that person specifically. 

Make a decision to forgive people immediately and totally because it is in your own interest.  If we want to keep God’s blessing and joy in our lives and have peace, we have got to forgive.  We should not try and measure out forgiveness.  The presence of God in our lives is too important to lose it by holding onto a grudge.  The character and the personality that is developing on the inside of you is important.  The most important thing is that our souls develop to be more like Jesus every day.

One thing to watch out for is a root of bitterness.  If somebody else is in a bitter frame of mind, they are angry, they are bitter, they are out to punish, be careful because Hebrews says, that root of bitterness, can defile many.  If you are around somebody who is very bitter, that can get on you very easily.  You can pick up someone else’s offence.  I know this as a Pastor, especially with a marriage situation, or two people in dispute. Listening to someone complaining about someone else, can lead one to pick up that bitterness and that offence.  Very often we do not necessarily have the grace to deal with it.  Our hearts need to be carefully protected.  Ephesians 4:32 says “And be kind one to another, tender hearted…” Realising that every person is very precious to the Lord.  They might have been a pain to you, but they are very precious to the Lord.  Do not take it out on them.  He says, “…be tender hearted…” and “forgiving one another…” why?  “even as God has forgiven you.”God has forgiven us totally, without reserve.  He has forgiven a mountain of sin.  And in the same way we need to forgive each other. 

Closing prayer for letting go of unforgiveness in your heart. 

Lord thank You so much for what you have done for us.  You have given us so much.  Lord we have probably broken all the Commandments and a lot more, but Lord You have forgiven us, You have wiped the slate clean.  Thank you Lord.  You have forgiven us so much, and Lord that makes us tender hearted.  That makes us to want to forgive everyone else.  Lord we realise that people have sinned against us, they have hurt us. We look that in the face and we say, ‘I forgive you’ (if there is someone you are thinking of you can perhaps say that out loud or quietly – ‘I forgive you’).  Lord, I ask you to bless that person in the name of Jesus.’  Amen

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