Forgiving others starts when God first forgives you, but it doesn’t stop there. 

Notes And Next Steps

Matthew 18:21-35  + Part 1 of the series “The Parables Of Jesus"

“Do you struggle with forgiveness?” vs. “Why haven’t you forgiven them?”

Three keys to forgiveness:

  1. Remember who you are

“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” (Matthew 18:32-35)

Forgiven people forgive.

  1. Own the debt

“The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.” (Matthew 18:27)

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)

  1. Trust in God’s Promises

Forgiveness means following Jesus.

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:17)

Discussion Questions

  1. React: forgiveness is the hardest part about being a Christian.
  2. What are some examples in the Bible of “extreme” forgiveness? (Hints: Genesis 50:15-21; Acts 7:59-60) Do you have any personal experience with “extreme” forgiveness one way or another?
  3. How does the parable of the unmerciful servant frame your relationship with God? Relationship with others? 
  4. Jesus teaches simply that for a Christian, forgiveness isn’t “optional” or “extreme”, rather it is what a believer does. Explain this sentence in your own words: Forgiveness means following Jesus.
  5. Additional study: Paul urges the Corinthians to comfort and forgive the repentant brother (2 Corinthians 2:5-11). Jesus gives believers the command to forgive the repentant and not forgive the unrepentant (John 20:19-23).