Relationship or Rights

6 February 2011

1. Introduction

Eph 5:1-2

“Be imitators of God as dear children and walk in love as Christ has loved us …”

Blessing if we respond with grace and forgiveness

Cursing if we respond with blame, judgement, Unforgiveness

The disciples reacted out of pain and hurt of rejection, dishonour and injustice.


2. Parable of Unforgiving Servant Mt 18: 21-35


(1) Who is this parable addressed to?

      V21 Peter’s question = disciples/followers of Christ

      V35 “So each of you” = followers of Christ – Christians


(2) What is the Key Issue in this Parable?

      V28      How will you treat people who fail, offend, treat you badly?

                  Will you operate in law or grace?

                  Grace gives what people do not deserve, love, kindness, forgiveness.

                  Law demands rights, justice – values being right over relationship.


(3) What is the Nature of the Kingdom of God?

V23-27 “Moved with compassion” – released him forgave all his debt – millions of $$.

·         The King reveals His nature and the nature of Kingdom – what He is like.

·         Compassion – deep love and concern for people.

·         Grace – extend forgiveness, release demand of debt cf Heb. 4:15.

·         Grace is intended to bring us into fellowship with God and change our heart – how we relate with people (1Jn 4:20).


(4) Relationship conflicts reveal our Heart Attitudes

      vs 28 – 31 “took by the throat .. throw into prison …”

·         The issue that exposed his heart was the failure of a fellow servant.

·         The failures of others reveal our heart and give opportunity to choose.

(a) Demand our rights – what is fair – give person what they deserve

(b) Yield to grace – give person what they do not deserve


·         It is not what you want to give the person who hurt you – it’s what you want to receive in your future relationships.

·         What was exposed:

(a) Hardness of heart – no compassion

(b) Anger and bitterness

(c) No value or honour on person or relationship

(d) Pride



(5) Pride in our Heart is Revealed in How we Relate to People

·         Sees the wrongs others have done.

·         Never identifies, empathises with the hurts, wounds of others, weakness.

·         Admits no wrong – hates to take responsibility for personal mistakes.

·         Rather be right than have relationship.

·         Justifies wrong attitude by “being right”.

·         Excuses and justifies its bitterness resentment, unloving attitude to others – cold love.


·         We are not held accountable or responsible for the pain/wounding others bought into our life.

·         We are held responsible for how we react to that wounding.

·         The servant who had received grace – responded with judgement – demanding his rights.


·         He removed himself from grace – and came under judgement himself.


(6) If you sow Judgement – you reap Judgement

·         Mt 7:1 – 3 “… for with what judgement you judge, you will be judged …”

·         Ps 109: 12 – 19 “…as he loved cursing, let it come unto him ….”

·         Wicked servant” = 4190 = to cause pain, sorrow, hardship, to have a negative and hurtful influence.

·         “Grieved” = 3076 = to throw the fellow servants into grief and sorrow and pain.

·         Unforgiveness, bitterness, cold love cause defilement and grief in relationships.

·         Reminded: He had received grace – needed to extend grace to stay in flow of grace.

·         When hurts come we have a choice:

Grace – value and restore relationships

Law     – exposure, demand rights, judgement

·         Eg:             Joseph – Gen 45: 14-18 - Attitude to brothers – grace

Jesus Jn. 13: 14-14 - Attitude to Judas – grace

·         Satan is an accuser and a legalist – he trades in the law.

·         Jesus is a Saviour and advocate – He trades in grace

·         Consequences      i) forgiveness was revoked – no longer legal, cancelled

ii) Handed over to the tormentors – demonic spirits

iii) Wife and children were also exposed to tormentors


(7) Mercy and Forgiveness are Kingdom Principles

·         V35 How Jesus applied consequences to each of us for how we respond to people who have hurt, wounded, offended us, failed us.

·         “Each of You” = no person is exempt.

i) Demand rights, justice = torments/prison

ii) Yield/Grace = receive grace and flow in grace

·         Lk 6: 35 – 36 Reward = experience the Father’s embrace and flow of His favour.


(8) The Path Out of Prison

(i)   Desire for intimacy and fellowship with God (Rom. 2:4)


(ii)  Repentance and Confession of our sin (pride) (2 Cor. 7:9-11)

·         Causes us to see how we have hurt others.

·         Know we have grieved the Holy Spirit – repent of unforgiveness and judgments.

·         Willing to let go the need to be right.

·         Willing to guard how we speak – respond to others.


(iii) Give and Receive Forgiveness

·         Forgiveness is an issue between you and God (Lk. 23:24; Mk. 11:25)

·         Forgive others for the hurt they have brought – hurt people hurt others.

·         Receive God’s forgiveness for judging, demanding rights, bitterness.


(iv) Sow Kindness into Others

·         Sowing kindness is the fruit of a changed heart.