One day Peter asked Jesus how many times he had to forgive someone that had hurt him. Peter thought that forgiving seven times was pretty good, and probably thought he was being generous in suggesting seven times!
How did Jesus respond in
Jesus told Peter that those who are forgiven by God must respond with forgiveness to others without limit
Jesus gave an illustration showing how God looks on our responsibility to forgive in the verses following (
). Read this account in sections and rehearse each section with these questions:
- How much did the servant owe the king? (10,000 talents, which in our day is millions of dollars. The point is that he owed more than he could ever pay back.)
- Since the servant could not pay his debt, what was going to happen to him? (He and his family would all become slaves to work off the debt.)
- How did the servant respond? (He begged for mercy)
- What did the king do? (The king gave him mercy by forgiving the debt.)
- If you were the man who was forgiven, how would you feel?
- How did the forgiven servant show how thankful he was for being forgiven? (He didn't. He went out and showed no mercy to someone who owed him a little.)
- What did the king say he should have done? (He should have been merciful and forgave the debt.)
- How did the king respond to the man's lack of mercy to someone who owed him money? (Put him in jail and forced him to pay the debt that had been forgiven.)
- What do you think Jesus wanted Peter to learn from this story about mercy and forgiveness? (God forgives us of ALL our sins, so we should forgive those who sin against us.)
We can never outdo God's mercy. He has given us more mercy than we will ever be asked to give someone else.
- When have you given mercy to someone when he or she really deserved anger and punishment?
- Is there anyone you need to forgive right now?
WHY DOES THIS MATTER:
Because God is Merciful, He gives us the ability to be merciful to others.
Forgiving others and showing great mercy is not natural for us. Only God can help us respond the way Jesus described in His conversation with Peter. When you talk with Him today, ask Him to show you how to give mercy to others and then the power to act on it!
Because God is Merciful, I will ________________________.
(Note: Fill in the blank by sharing a specific action point)
ONE MORE ACTION TO CONSIDER:
Although God’s mercy and forgiveness toward believers extends throughout eternity, His mercy toward the unrepentant sinner does not last forever.
Before Alexander the Great would lay siege to a city, he would set up a light giving notice to those who lived within the city that if they came to him while that light was still burning, he would spare their lives. But once the light was out—no mercy was to be expected.
In very much the same way, God sets up light after light and waits year after year for sinners to come to Him so that they also may have eternal life. He does not want anyone to perish, so He is giving more time for everyone to repent. But be aware that a time is coming when there will be no more mercy. God does not want us to be destroyed by our sinfulness, so He offers us mercy, but we must be willing to accept it before we run out of time. Those who feel they can wait until later to receive God’s offer of mercy can never be sure that they will have the time or opportunity to receive His mercy.
If you need God's mercy, reach out to Him today!
If you have receive God's mercy, who can you share it with today?