Matthew 18:30-31 (On Unforgiveness)

How did the first slave respond to the fellow slave’s plea for mercy and patience?  See Mat 18:30.  Again, how is this answering Peter’s question in Mat 18:21?  In what way does such unforgiveness act as a real prison for those whom we are unwilling to forgive?  Think: when a husband or wife offends their spouse so they do not immediately forgive, what effect does it have upon the other, upon their home, and upon their children?  If the unforgiveness continues, is the destructive result much different than if one was cast in prison so the household suffers deprivation?

What does Mat 18:30 teach us about the great danger of falling into the debt of another—whether monetary or the debt of sin—because of the lawful, legal power a creditor has over a debtor?  Cf. 2Ki 4:1, Neh 5:4-5[1], Pro 22:7.  What does the first slave’s response to the fellow slave’s pleas for mercy teach us about whose hands into which it is better to fall: the Lord’s, or man’s?  See 1Ch 21:13.  As the parable makes clear, the great creditor of men is God, and He is willing to forgive if we will but repent and seek His forgiveness.  But if one will not repent, who is it that acts as God’s collection agency, who is so completely full of pride at his own perfection that he cannot stand the slightest imperfections of others, so that unlike God he is completely unmerciful and unwilling to forgive, and is so eager to extract the full justice of the law that he accuses even the most righteous day and night before God in order that satisfaction to the last penny might be exacted from all who are in the least guilty?  See Eze 28:11-16, Rev 12:9-10, Job 1:6-12, 2:1-5, Isa 14:4,12-15, Jer 6:22-23, Zec 3:1, Luk 22:31, 1Co 5:5, 1Ti 1:20.  What does this teach us about who we are most like when rather than being moved by compassion to seek restoration and extend forgiveness, in religious pride we are more eager to exact justice, especially as we understand it, because we too want to be like the Most High and give the wicked what they deserve?  Cf. Mat 12:10, 27:12, Luk 23:10, Joh 8:6, 2Co 11:14-15, 3Jo 1:10.  How much are we like that?  In this light, what do we come to understand about the origin and great evil of the Sharia law of Islam that controls every aspect of a person’s life and is both merciless and capricious in fulfilling its dictates?  See again Jer 6:22-24 spoken to Israel in reference to the king of Babylon, as well as Jer 50:41-43 spoken of the fall of Babylon.  See Jam 2:13; what is the great danger of mercy not triumphing over judgment?  Cf. Mat 18:34, Mat 23:13-33, esp. Mat 18:33.

Who saw what the first slave did to his fellow slave?  See Mat 18:31.  Who do they represent?  What does Mat 18:31 say was their reaction?  In the past many “Christian” societies such as the holy Roman Empire or Calvin’s Geneva viewed it as their responsibility to address the sins of others, even to the point of torture and death; did the fellow slaves in Jesus’ parable view it as their responsibility to deal with the sinful response of the first slave in this way?  What did they do about it?  What does this teach us should be our response in such circumstances?  Should we suppose that by simply reporting to our Lord whatever has happened that He will do nothing and justice will not be served?  What is the great danger of acting on the Lord’s behalf in such circumstances instead of allowing Him to deal with it?  See Luk 6:37, Joh 8:7, and think: are we without sin ourselves and do we have all knowledge so as to judge with complete righteousness and justice?  Contrast Mat 23:29-35 and 1Co 4:5.  Consider too in the case of the woman caught in the act of adultery, if the righteous Son of God, who above all others was able to judge with complete righteousness, if even He was unwilling to pass judgment before the time appointed by God, should we?  If we really have a great faith in God, should we suppose that by simply reporting such things to the Lord that He will not act quickly to bring about justice or that the wicked will not be punished?  See Luk 18:1-8.  Again, what does this teach us about the great power even a few righteous believers have if they will but trust God completely and do as Christ instructed?  See Mat 18:18-19.



1. What warning do these verses offer in regard to our own children in light of America’s spiritual and material indebtedness?

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