How To




How is Matthew 18:15-17






Forgiveness is important

[Luke 11:4 NASB] 4 ‘And forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.’”

[Luke 23:34 NASB] 34 But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.

Believe the gospel to be forgiven

[Act 10:43 NASB] 43 “Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.”

[Act 13:38-39 NASB] 38 “Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39 and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.

Forgive as God has forgiven

[Eph 4:31-32 NASB] 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Forgiveness is not

Forgiveness is not explaining away what someone did.

Example:  “My husband did commit adultery, but this was because I was sexually cold towards him.”

This is justification of the action not forgiveness.

Forgiveness is not

Forgiveness is not saying it was “OK” or “no big deal.

Example:  “I am sorry I hurt your feelings”.   “That’s alright, I am just overly sensitive.  No biggie”

This is lawlessness.  Sin does not matter.

Forgiveness is not

Forgiveness is not thinking you deserve to be treated poorly.

Example:  “Really, I don’t deserve to be treated any better than this.” 

This is condemnation

Forgiveness is not

Forgiveness is not the restoration of trust.

Example:  “I said that I was sorry, why can’t you let me borrow your car again.”

This confuses forgiveness, which is unconditional with trust that is conditional.

Human Forgiveness is …..

Forgiveness is to release  the sins and moral failures of another person to the LORD.  It is to set them free of the just condemnation they deserve from us for doing wrong.  It is to give up our right claim to justice in a situation and instead freely let go of the offense, giving it to the LORD.  It is a action that demonstrates grace, mercy, and compassion.  It rejects anger and gives loving kindness to those who have done us wrong.

Forgiveness is ……

For forgiveness to be just it must always be done on the basis of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.  The demands of justice are met by the blood of Christ and are removed from the person who sinned.

We forgive because of Christ

[2Co 2:10 NASB] 10 But one whom you forgive anything, I [forgive] also; for indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, [I did it] for your sakes in the presence of Christ,

Stages of Forgiveness ….

Unconditional Attitude of forgiveness (love or our enemies, patience, longsuffering, returning good for evil, no bitterness, slander, or gossip)

Formal Forgiveness

Emotional Forgiveness

Full Forgiveness with reconciliation requires repentance

Reconcilation is …..

For a person to be forgiven and reconciled  they must change their mind about what they did, admit it was wrong, accept full responsibility for it, feel sorry they did it, and repent of their action.  They will not do this perfectly, but it must be a substantial and real attitude change in them. 

Forgiveness is ….

[Luke 17:3-5 NASB] 3 “Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 4 “And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.” 5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”

What if there is no repentance?

Matthew 18 & Forgiveness

[Mat 18:15-17 NASB] 15 “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16 “But if he does not listen [to you,] take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. 17 “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

Patience & Longsuffering =

Patience & Longsuffering = A forgiving spirit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Gal 5:22-23 ESV)

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, (Eph 4:1-2 ESV)

Forgive what?

Times when people failed to love me as they should love me

Times when people failed to respect me as they should respect me

Times when people gossiped about me

Times when people lied about me

Times when people verbally assaulted me

Forgive What?

Times when people betrayed my trust

Times when people rejected me

Times when people abandoned me

Times when people physically abused and hurt me

Times when people sexually exploited, abused, and hurt me

Forgive What?

Times when people stole from me

Times when people tricked me to use me for their ends

Times when people used me as a “thing” instead of related to me as a person

Times when people used their knowledge of me to emotionally cause me pain

Times when people encouraged other people to hurt me

Forgive What?

Times when people used their knowledge of God, religion, and the bible to hurt me

Times when people tortured me

Times when people embarrassed me

Times when people shamed me in front of others

Times when people treated me in an immodest way

Forgive What?

Times when people “joked” at my expense

Times when people killed or hurt those I love

Times when people worked towards making me fail

Times I failed to do what I felt I should do

Times I hurt others

Forgive What?

Times I failed God

Times God did not answer a prayer I desperately needed answered

Times God allowed something that deeply hurt me

Times God did not manifest HIMSELF to me when I was in desperate need

Reconciliation  CYCLE!

WHAT ARE THE STAGES OF Reconciliation?


 All human beings are wonderfully made by God but in their rebellion against God are wounded, weak, wild, and wicked.   Sinful human beings will abuse everyone in their lives at various times. 



Denies responsibility for what they did.  They justify their abuse.  Blames the victim for what they did.  Takes glory and honor in having power and control over others.  Proud of the pain they caused.  Claims that being abusive was God’s will.


:  Denies that the person did anything “significant”.  When the other person apologizes just says; “It was nothing, don’t worry about it”.   Minimizes or excuses the abuse.  The victim takes responsibility for the abuse.  The victim feels that God wanted them to be abused to pay for their sins. 



Takes 100% responsibility for their abuse.  The abuser seeks to make restoration of any damage done by the abuse if possible. The abuser expresses sorrow over the victim’s pain and remorse over what they did.  They have a change of mind and heart concerning the event and see that they acted in an unloving and dishonoring way to the victim. 


Calls abuse, “abuse”.   Confronts the abuser with what they have done.  Gives the abuser in a safe environment the opportunity to confess and repent.   The victim is open to hearing and receiving the repentance and confession of the abuser.



Expresses anger towards God, themselves, or others in abusive ways in order to feel justified and gain power and control over their lives.


Returns evil for evil when they are abused. The victim feels a justified anger towards the one who abused them but allows this to grow into bitterness and self-righteousness. 



Accepts God’s mercy and forgiveness in Christ.  Knows that only if the victim gives them mercy is there any hope for the relationship.  Does not judge the victim if the victim is struggling to show mercy


Reflects on God’s mercy towards them in Christ Jesus.  The victim sees their own great need of forgiveness from God and others.  Ask for God to give to them a love and compassion towards the abuser. 

Ephesians 4:31-32

(31) Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  (32)  Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.



Seeks to avoid accountability or punishment for their abuse.  The abuser justifies their abuse as correcting a prior offense by the victim or life in general.   Makes light of what they did or even just says “I was kidding”.   The abuser lies about their words or actions. 


Seeks revenge and extreme justice on the abuser.   The victim wants an “eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” at best.  The victim feels better and brighter than the abuser.  The one hurt can become filled with self –righteousness in the relationship with the abuser.


Willing to be accountable and suffer any just punishment for their crimes.  The abuser admits that there is no justification for abuse.  The abuser feels the weight of their offense towards the other person.  Fully admits the truth about what they have done. 



Knows that they deserve justice because they are made in God’s image.  They do not minimize or make light what they have suffered.  The victim release the abuser from their moral responsibility and give to them mercy and compassion as unconditional gifts.  They attempt to imitate God’s grace and kindheartedness towards them in Christ Jesus.  This is a process that begins with formal forgiveness and moves over time towards emotional forgiveness. 



Abandons or rejects the victim or seek s to be in a “I hate you, but don’t leave me” relationship of continual and intense abuse. 


Runs from the relationship to become safe from the abuse.  The victim abandons and rejects the abuser.  The victim can decide to be a quiet “suffering martyr” in the relationship that does not confront the abuser with their abuse.


Seeks to demonstrate repentance without expectation over a long period of time to help rebuild trust.  The abuser does not expect anything from the victim, not even forgiveness.  The abuser does not stand in judgment on the victim for their struggles with their feelings about being hurt. They strive to be a sane, stable, safe, and spiritual person in their relationship with the victim.



Gives to God the hurt, pain, and sadness suffered during the abuse in prayer  (Phil 4:1-8).  They open themselves in a sane, stable, safe, and spiritual way to the efforts of the abuser to restore the relationship as they feel able.  The victim seeks support, comfort, counsel, and encouragement from safe people.   They determine how and when they can rebuild trust with the abuser.

Forgiving myself

Our self-acceptance can be found in one of three places.

1.  Legalism – I am better and brighter and therefore acceptable.

2.  Lawlessness – No conscience – Beyond guilt – Beyond responsibility

3.  Love of God in Christ Jesus – My sins are significant but the love of God found in the suffering of Jesus on the cross is greater than my sin. 

1 John 3:19,20

1 John 3:19,20

By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.

1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Philippians 3:13

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,

Psalm 103:12

As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

Forgiving God

This is not paradise but “East of Eden”

We left God and His paradise

Justly we all deserve hell fire

Evil is our creation

Destructive pain is the result of evil

Key Thoughts

God is good

God is great

God is full of grace

God is with us in the painful world

God will use all our pain for gain

Romans 8:28

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.