Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Forgiveness


Today I was blessed with the opportunity to teach a lesson from the Bible to a group of preteen girls. I taught over Matthew 18:21-35. I decided to blog my lesson because as followers of Christ, we always need a reminder to forgive others. Just two things to keep in mind while reading the lesson:
                                  1) I taught this to preteens, so it is in pretty simple language.
                                  2) Think of what action or attitude the Lord may be calling you to.

Matthew 18:21-22
Then Peter came and said to Him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven."


  • How many times should we forgive someone who wrongs us?
          When Jesus says to forgive up to 70 times 7, he didn't mean to keep track of up to 490 sins a person commits and then stop forgiving them. (Let's be real, if we're keeping track of someone's sins, we're not forgiving them). He was saying that we need to continuously forgive others the same way He is continuously forgiving us.
  • Do you know why Jesus tells us to forgive so much?
Matthew 18:23-27
[Jesus said, ]"For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.' And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released and forgave him the debt. 
  • Who does the king in the parable represent? Who does the slave represent? (I know these sound like the most basic questions ever, but really dwell on what this means...especially in the last part of the parable). 
          We have wronged God so much. Anytime we even think a horrid thought about someone else, we wrong Jesus because we're thinking something bad about His creation. Every person is God's creation, so every time we sin against a person, we then sin against God. Just like the slave deserved to be punished by the king, we deserve to be punished by God. But the king forgave the slave, and in the same way God forgives us because Jesus took on the punishment of our sins. 

Matthew 18:28-30
But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, 'Pay back what you owe.' So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, 'Have patience with me and I will repay you.' But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed.

          The slave was being very hypocritical. Even though he was forgiven and didn't pay back his debt, he would not forgive another man for his debt. (I didn't even think of this when teaching the girls, but in this parable, the king is justly clearing out his accounts to settle all his debt. But the already indebted slave goes out of his way to find and abuse someone who owes him hardly anything...just something to think about). 

Matthew 18:31-35
So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened. Then summoning him, his lord said to him, 'You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?' And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.
  • Is it right to be forgiven by someone and then turn around and not forgive others?
          Every time we don't forgive someone, we are disobeying the Lord. As His followers, we are commanded to forgive. (Thus begrudging someone for their sin is just as much a sin in God's eyes. Holding someone's sin over their head is rebellion against God.)
  • Can you think of a time that you were thankful you were forgiven? Either by God or by another person?
  • Can you think of someone you need to forgive? Or possibly ask forgiveness from?
(The Lord commands us to forgive unceasingly...as incredibly hard as it is, Jesus did that for us. We need that constant reminder of Who He is and what grace and forgiveness he has extended toward us: so much so that we are filled up and can offer it to others, if we only ask God to fill us up). 


For those of you that have been subject to unforgiveness, and if you have obeyed the verses commanding us to make amends with our brothers, and that person still did not forgive you...just remember that person has to answer to God. As long as you have acted in obedience, then you have done your part. Sometimes we need to forgive people for not forgiving us.

Picture courtesy of Bing Images.