イエスは私と共にいる : 私が怒ったり、腹を立てているとき from Mustard Seed Osaka on Vimeo.

Small Group Lesson:
Today we are talking about forgiveness. When you hear the word forgiveness, what impressions and emotions do you have (relief, anger, discomfort, thankfulness, etc.)?

Read Matthew 18:21-35 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

Based on this Biblical text, what is the standard of forgiveness for those who follow Jesus? 

The debt described in Matthew 18:24 was 50 times the amount of the nation's annual tax revenue! Do you feel this is an accurate representation of our debt of sin towards God? Or, do you feel this is an exaggeration? (See Romans 3:10-23)  

How does reflecting on the forgiveness we have received affect how we forgive others? 

As we studied through Sunday's sermon, the unfolding history of forgiveness began with a man named Lamech (Genesis 4:24) whose model was unlimited revenge. Second, the law of Moses taught equal punishment (Exodus 21:23-24). Later Jewish teachers suggested a third model of forgiveness: limited forgiveness, up to three times. However, Jesus taught a model of forgiveness that was completely radical and wonderful: unlimited forgiveness (Matthew 18:22).  

All Christians are striving to follow Jesus' model of unlimited forgiveness. However, which of these models does your heart default toward: unlimited revenge, equal punishment, or limited forgiveness? 

Read Luke 17:3-4 and Romans 12:18 “Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”    If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 

In Luke 17 Jesus says if your brothers repents, forgive him. He says this because sometimes others will not repent. In such cases reconciliation is not achieved. Likewise, in Romans 12:18 Paul teaches us that as far as we are able, we should strive for peace and reconciliation with others. This implies that in cases when the other person is unwilling to seek repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation, we are only responsible for our actions in seeking reconciliation. Nevertheless, we must never hold onto bitterness in our hearts.  

**Disclaimer: For the next few questions, avoid using people's names and specific details of situations involving other people. Let this conversation stimulate self reflection about your own heart and your own sins. Avoid gossip and slander.**  

What happens in your heart and life when you fail to forgive others and you hold onto bitterness? 

Is there any un-forgiveness or bitterness that you have right now? 

On the opposite side, is there anyone to whom you need to apologize and seek their forgiveness for something wrong you have done against them?