Matthew 18:21-35 The Consequences of Unforgiveness

by | Nov 20, 2023 | Matthew, New Testament

I. Jesus’ Teaching Regarding Forgiveness

A. Forgiveness Is Commanded V. 21-35
B. Forgiveness Is Reasonable

1. Man wants to limit forgiveness to other men V. 21

a. The rabbis taught that you should forgive up to three times
b. Perhaps Peter thought himself super spiritual for suggesting 7 times
c. That may seem reasonable to man’s thinking
d. Jesus puts no limits on how often to forgive V. 22
e. Jesus exaggerates the number to speak of endless forgiveness
f. He didn’t mean for us to keep a record
g. As long as forgiveness is needed, forgiveness should be given
h. We don’t want God to limit His forgiveness to us. Do the same for others

2. Jesus compares forgiveness we receive from God & forgiveness we should give

a. Parable of the two servants who both owed debts V. 23-34
b. One servant owes an unpayable debt. ($16-20 million) V. 24
c. The King had a right to sell him into slavery V. 25
d. This servant foolishly thinks he can pay the debt V. 26

i. He realizes that he owes a debt, but the reality of what he owes escapes him
ii. We do not even realize the all the sins that we commit against God.
iii. Psalm 19:12 Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults.

e. King moved by compassion, not hope for justice, or man’s promise to pay V. 27

i. The King went beyond the servant’s request
ii. The King went beyond being reasonable; he was merciful & had pity
iii. We all stand guilty like that 1st servant- Turn to Psalm 130

f. Forgiven servant finds fellow servant who owes him (100 days’ pay) V. 28

i. This was a payable amount
ii. 2nd servant asks for compassion; uses the same words as 1st servant V. 29
iii. 1st servant forgets the mercy shown him; throws 2nd servant into jail V. 30
iv. Other servants see this, tell King. (People see our unforgiveness) V. 31

g. King tries to enlighten 1st servant. “Just as I had pity on you”? V. 32, 33
h. 1st servant judged not only b/c of lack of mercy, but b/c he didn’t appreciate the King’s compassion on him, and was not moved by it towards others
i. King hands 1st servant over to the torturers for a time V. 34

C. Jesus Warns Against Unforgiveness

1. Matthew 18:34, 35
2. Matthew 6:14, 15
3. Luke 6:37
4. Mark 11:25, 26

II. The Consequences Of Unforgiveness

A. Realize That Forgiveness Is A Choice

1. When we are unforgiving, it means one of two things

a. We really don’t understand the great debt that has been forgiven us
b. We are hardhearted against one who has offended us, & refuse to forgive them

B. Unforgiveness Is Disobedience To God
C. Unforgiveness Means We Are Unforgiven
D. Unforgiveness Leads To “Torture”

Unwillingness to forgive leads to what Jesus described as torture

1. Unforgiveness becomes a sin that God holds against us. It comes between us & God
2. God is always willing to forgive the Christian.
3. As soon as we confess our sins, we are forgiven. (1 John 1:9)
4. Unforgiveness is not loss of salvation; it is unforgiven sin
5. We lose intimacy with God
6. We lose much of our joy
7. We become unfruitful, or less fruitful in our service to God
8. To some degree, our worship becomes hypocritical
9. People see unforgiveness in us, and we become a bad example of what a Christian is
10. We become victims of our own hard hearts and unforgiving spirits.
11. Unforgiveness is not the unforgivable sin, but forgiveness is an identifying mark of one who has been forgiven and understands forgiveness.
12. Guzik– Our salvation may be sure, yet we may be “tortured” by our own unforgiveness towards others.
13. Ephesians 4:26, 27 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27nor give place to the devil.

a. Place- topos, top’-os: a spot, a location, a condition, an opportunity

14. NIV- 27and do not give the devil a foothold. (a place for further advancement)
15. NASB- 27and do not give the devil an opportunity
16. Hebrews 12:14, 15 14Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled…
17. The “torture” is hardness of heart that affects our relationship w/ Jesus and gives Satan an opportunity against us. Satan- liar, deceiver, thief, murderer, destroyer

III. How To Remedy Unforgiveness

A. Realize That It Is A Command
B. Practice “Sermon on the Mount” Christianity- Matthew 5:44, 45
C. Realize How Much You Have Been Forgiven- Luke 7:36-50
D. Additional Thoughts-

How ready is God to forgive you? Answer- Always…and He has already made provision
How many times do you want Him to forgive you? Answer- As often as we need it
Regarding us…Forgiveness is a “transaction” that takes both the offender & the offended to realize God’s perspective, and their own responsibility in light of God’s forgiveness.
“Forgiving someone in your heart” is not the fullness of forgiveness, but a necessary start.