Don’t Take the Bait – The Bait of Unforgiveness

(Message 4) Unforgiveness puts us in bondage, but forgiveness sets us free. So what does forgiveness look like, and how do we forgive that person? Join us as we conclude our series with the message, “Don’t Take the Bait – The Bait of Unforgiveness”. #GCDontTakeTheBait

Unforgiveness puts us in bondage; forgiveness sets us free.


– To live from sickness or discouragement

verb: to make oneself a servant; to labor under compulsion
noun: a person in bondage


We live our lives in servitude not to the people who hurt us, but to the people we refuse to forgive.

Unforgiveness puts us in bondage; forgiveness sets us free.


Forgiveness is:

  • NOT saying it’s okay
  • saying you don’t owe me
  • NOT a feeling
  • a decision
  • NOT trusting
  • given freely, while trust is earned one morsel at a time
  • NOT dependent on the offender’s apology
  • releasing the desire for revenge



  • Romans 10:9
  • 2 Corinthians 5:18


How to forgive:

  1. Recognize how much you have been forgiven
  2. Pray blessings instead of curses
    • Pray for your enemy:
      • “Lord, reveal yourself to my enemy in a way that changes his life for the better.”
      • “Let her experience your presence in a powerful way that leads her into a closer relationship with you.”
      • “Let him feel the fullness of life that you promised in the Holy Spirit.”
  3. Release your resentment to God


If you want to be free, you must forgive that person.

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Start reading.

Key Scripture:

Matthew 18:23-35 (NLT)

 23 “Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. 24 In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. 25 He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold-along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned-to pay the debt. 26 “But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ 27 Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt. 28 “But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment. 29 “His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. 30 But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full. 31 “When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. 32 Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ 34 Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.  35 “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”

Genesis 27:40 (NLT)

40 You will live by your sword, and you will serve your brother. But when you decide to break free, you will shake his yoke from your neck.”

Matthew 5:21-22 (NLT)

21 “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ 22 But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.

1 Corinthians 1:28-30a

1 Corinthians 2:1-3

1 Corinthians 2:13a

Start talking. Find a conversation starter for your group.

  • During the sermon, Jeff mentioned his struggle while preparing this topic, and that Jesus of course knew this and led Jeff to just the right verses to speak to him.  Have you ever experienced something similar in your quiet time, bible reading, or prayer?

Start thinking. Ask a question to get your group thinking.

  • Read Matthew 18:23-35.  In this parable, what is Jesus trying to teach to his disciples about the consequences of unforgiveness?
  • Read Genesis 27:40.  What does Isaac’s prophesy toward Esau tell us about bondage and freedom regarding forgiveness?
  • Read Matthew 5:21-22.  How does this passage help us with our understanding of forgiveness?

Start sharing. Choose a question to create openness.

  • How do you define forgiveness?  What does it look like in various circumstances?
  • Jesus says in Matthew 5:44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!   How are you doing in this area of loving your enemies and praying for those who persecute you?
  • What are some practical ways we can recognize how much we have been forgiven?
  • What are the roles of humility and gratitude in our ability to forgive?
  • Can you share a story about forgiving someone who truly wronged you?  Was that forgiveness dependent on the offender’s apology or repentance?
  • What does forgiveness look like when trust has been broken?

Start doing. Commit to a step and live it out this week.

  • Identify someone who has hurt you and forgive that person.

Start praying. Be bold and pray with power.

  • Father, thank you for forgiving us and for freeing us through Jesus Christ.  We recognize that through you, everything is possible.  So father, please help us to forgive those who have wronged us and please pour blessings over those who have persecuted us and those who continue to do so.  In Jesus’ mighty name.  -Amen

Start digging. For further study.


Jeff Lindholm

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