The Unforgiving Servant

By Rick Bayer, March 06, 2022

Matthew 18:21-35

21 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?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.

23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 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. 26 So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’

The king forgives a from first servant. v. 23-27

27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt.

28 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.’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’

The refuses to forgive another. v. 28-31

31 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.

32 Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt.

for the unforgiving servant. v. 32-34

Matthew 18:27 NIV The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

How to forgive:

Have on others “took pity on him” v. 27a

their debts “cancelled the debt” v. 27b

See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled Hebrews 12:15 ESV

1. With whom are you angry?

Is there someone in your past or present with whom you are angry? They could be in the room with you now. They could be someone from your past: an ex-husband or wife, ex-girlfriend or boyfriend, family member, etc. former boss. Go ahead make a list. With whom are you angry. Who would you like to pay back if you could and get away with it? Whom do you secretly hope to fail? One of the litmus tests of forgiveness is the desire for the other person to succeed. You know you’ve forgiven someone when you want to see them flourish.

2. Determine what they owe you?

The king forgave a specific amount owed to him by the servant. What is owed to you by those who hurt you. Specifically. General forgiveness does not heal specific hurt. Pinpoint, what did they take from you. A reputation. A job. A marriage. Money. A season of your life. Clearly identify the debt so you can clearly cancel it.

them “let him go” v. 27c

Why forgive others?

Heavenly Father, has taken from me. I have held onto this debt too long. Today, March 6th, I choose to cancel this debt. doesn’t owe me anymore. Just as You forgave me, I forgive .

Questions for Discipleship Group and/or personal study:


  • How many credit cards do you have? What are you most tempted to buy with your credit card(s)?

Go to the Source:

  • Read Matthew 18:21-35
  • What do you think Jesus’ means by forgiving 77 times? Is this realistic?
  • Do we forgive others so God will forgive us or does God forgive us so that we will have a forgiving attitude? What is the biblical basis for your answer?
  • If you refuse to forgive others, what will you experience (v. 31-35)?

Live it out:

  • Rick described his forgiveness from God as being like a minnow in the ocean of God’s mercy. How do you describe living in God’s forgiveness?
  • Who owes you something and God is calling you right now to forgive them through the steps in v. 27? How can your group help you?