Death By Unforgiveness – P&P

March 27, 2022 | Prayer & Praise Services

Rev Gladwin Lee
Death By Unforgiveness – P&P

March 27, 2022 | Prayer & Praise Services

Rev Gladwin Lee

Scripture Passage: Matthew 18:21-35 (NRSV)



Summary l Why is choosing not to forgive bad for us?

1. It destroys friendships as we allow resentment to build up blocking effective communication and creating an unpleasant atmosphere. This is a problem when it happens in Church / Small groups and is one of the top 4 reasons people leave their faith community. Spiritual Relationships are destroyed when people refuse to forgive and binds us in chains of anger, suspicion, resentment and fear. We pray that leaders will learn to address difficulties and build a culture of forgiveness within our Small Groups.

2. It destroys our relationship with God as it hinders our obedience. Knowing we need to forgive and actually doing it, are very different things. Jesus himself practiced forgiveness when from the cross He prayed in Luke 23:34 “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing”. Unforgiveness hinders our prayer life. In Matt 5: 23-24 we are told to reconcile with our brother before making an offering at the altar.

3. It also destroys our personal well-being as it contributes to both physical and mental ill health. Let us now look at forgiveness. Jesus taught in the Parable of the Unforgiving Slave (Matt 18:23-25) that we should always forgive others because God has forgiven us way more. The story makes it clear that the value of the debts owed were very different with the first being far greater. There are no limits to the amount of sins to forgive. What about type of sin? Are there sins that are unforgivable such as rape/murder, etc? Only blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is unforgivable. This is when people decisively reject the truth about Jesus by attributing His mighty works to the devil (Matt 12:21).

When we forgive we actually set ourselves free but it is nevertheless very tough and can only be done with God’s help. Practicing forgiveness will involve our head, heart, hands and habits.

HEAD – we need to recall the offence and release the pain to God in prayer. We must also decide to forgive and ask God to help us be made willing. We would naturally prefer to hear words of apology and see signs of regret and repentance but this may never happen and we could remain imprisoned all our lives.

HEARTS – we need to rely on God and release prayers for the offender. It takes time and we need space to heal. We have to leave the consequences of their sin to God. We release the need for revenge and we definitely need divine help.

HANDS – we need to refuse to stay in the cycle of pain. We may have to walk away from a toxic friendship or situation. Then we seek restoration although forgiveness does not necessarily end in reconciliation.

HABIT – We will be required to repeat this habit frequently until our resentment, anger and bitterness go away. 

Is there someone you need to forgive?

(Sermon notes by Frances Lim)


  1. In Matthew 18: 21-35, Peter asked Jesus how many times he ought to forgive his brother.
    • What might Peter be expecting when he asked Jesus if he should forgive his brother up to seven times?
    • Why did Jesus tell the parable in Matthew 18:23-35? What was he trying to convey?
  2. How would you react if you were the servant (who received mercy from the king in Matthew 18:23-35) when he received mercy?
  3. How does unforgiveness affect us individually?
  4. How does unforgiveness affect us as a community?
  5. “Knowledge about forgiveness and Practising forgiveness can sometimes be 2 very different matters.” (Scriptural knowledge and scriptural obedience) Why is forgiveness so hard to practice?
  6. Discuss: Are there are areas in your small group or church life where unforgiveness still lingers? How is God inviting you to be a healing presence?
  7. Who are 1 or 2 persons whom you are need to forgive? What steps would you consider to take towards forgiveness? (Share only if you are comfortable)

Wesley Communications Team
Posted by Wesley Communications Team

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