Sermon Summary: How to Be a Better Forgiver (3/26/17)


There are plenty of reasons NOT to forgive someone:

  • They don’t deserve to be forgiven. What they did hurts me too deeply.
  • If they show me they've changed, then I'll forgive them
  • If I forgive them, I’ll just be taken advantage of again
  • It’s giving them permission to do again
  • If I forgive them, I’ll lose power over them

What reason to forgive is convincing enough to break through our reasons not to forgive?

Matthew 18:21-35 - The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

21 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?”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
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.
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.
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. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.
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 core of this parable’s meaning: One who receive so much compassion & forgiveness of debt should show mercy to friend & forgive debt.

Unforgiveness is so destructive to Christian community (and marriage, dating, friendships, etc.) that God would throw us in jail & allow us to be tortured.

Christian community should be marked by extravagant and unlimited forgiveness

Stop trying to earn God’s forgiveness.
Then you’ll stop forcing people to earn yours.

Both Dr. Evil & John Wick made an appearance in this sermon


Greg Rhodes

Greg is the Lead Pastor of RiverLife Church in St. Paul, MN. He started the church five years ago with his wife, Pang Foua. Greg is a long-time youth ministry veteran, with nearly 20 years of experience working with teenagers and young adults. He has two Bachelors degrees from Brown University and a Masters of Divinity from Bethel Seminary.