Sunday, August 14th
Forgiveness is central to the message of Jesus. It’s a simple concept to understand, but it’s quite possibly the most difficult thing to live out consistently in our lives. Without it, there is no way to experience the abundant life and relationships that God wants for all of us so how do we navigate through our unforgiveness?
Work through the following questions on your own, and get together with your running partner, Life Group or friends and family around the dinner table to talk through what you’re learning!
- What are ways that people try to maintain relationships without dealing with their unforgiveness? Do you see any of these at work in your relationships?
- Read Matthew 18:21-22. How do you feel about Jesus assertion that we should forgive people “seventy times seven” times when they wrong us? If you are honest, do you feel like that is too much?
- Read Matthew 18:23-27. Why is it so important to keep perspective about how much God has forgiven us as we deal with the wrongs we face from others?
- Read Matthew 18:28-33. How have you seen yourself function like the servant in Jesus’ parable? What barriers do you need to overcome to follow God’s lead?
- Do you see forgiveness as a courageous act? How might God be trying to change how you view it?
- What steps can you take this week to acknowledge relationships in your life where you’ve been hurt? Where is there pain that you’ve been shrugging off or diminishing, and how can you begin to work through the unforgiveness that isn’t going away?
Matthew 18:21-22 — Then Peter came to Him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me, seven times?” “No!” Jesus replied, “seventy times seven!”
Matthew 18:23-27 — “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. In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. 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. “But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt.”
Matthew 18:28-33 — “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. 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. But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full. “When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. 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. Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”
- Write out a list of all the people with whom you are harboring resentment or anger. It can be from major wounds or smaller issues, but the important thing is to see where unforgiveness is affecting your life. Take time to ask God to bring anyone to mind of which you are not aware.
- When the list is made, go through and pray for God’s help with forgiving each person on the list acknowledging that forgiveness is a process.
- Take time to think through whether you need to talk to anyone on the list and offer forgiveness in person.
SPIRITUAL GROWTH PATH
Did you know you can now track your progress working through the outcomes we include in Next Steps right on Gateway’s website?! Go to Spiritual Growth Path and create an account. You’ll get access to Spiritual Fitness Checks and training with the spiritual outcomes.
Spiritual Outcomes — Confession & Freedom
- Learn more about overcoming relational landmines by working through the CONFESSION outcome.
- Learn more about overcoming relational landmines by working through the FREEDOM outcome.
If you’ve yet to do so, we encourage you to download the Bible App by YouVersion on your smart phone. Create a free YouVersion account. Tap Plans > Discover > Search: Outreach New Testament > Start Plan. Then you can read along each day with us!