Hurt. Anger. Pain. Grief. Agony. Disbelief. Sorrow. These and a hundred different other words describe the powerful feelings that naturally flood our hearts when someone has wronged us. As common as they may be, if left unchecked, these emotions can easily mutate into the gravely destructive disease of bitterness. The only antidote for such a spiritually fatal ailment is… forgiveness.
The truth is we all need forgiveness. The apostle Paul declared, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). It then is painfully clear that we all have incurred an enormous debt of sin to God. However, the sum of that debt was graciously paid in full by God through the sacrifice of His own Son, Jesus. The penalty we deserve was paid by our Lord.
As Christians we celebrate the forgiveness we receive from our Father, but the rub comes from other people. It’s the apostle Paul who charges us to, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). Surely, those who have been forgiven so much by God should, of all people, forgive the offenses committed against them right? One would think, but even the saintliest of saints can struggle to forgive those who have wronged them. The fact of the matter is, how we deal with those who wrong us is a matter of spiritual life or death. The goal of this series is to empower us to live out the high calling of our faith; to forgive as we have been forgiven (cf. Matthew 6:12).
Throughout our lessons we’ll explore the various facets of forgiveness in light of the scriptures. There won’t be any magic words or secret formulas to learn. In fact, it’s unlikely that we’ll uncover many, if any, profound or new insights. Simply stated, forgiveness is not a method to be learned, but a truth to be lived. For most Christians, the problem isn’t that we don’t know the truth about forgiveness, it’s that we don’t practice it as we should. To encourage us to be more forgiving the course of our study will be two-fold:
God’s Forgiveness of Us:
1. Our Forgiving Father (Luke 15:1-32)
2. Our Need for Forgiveness (Ephesians 2:1-10)
3. Confessing Our Sins (1 John 1:5-2:2)
4. Accepting God’s Forgiveness (Psalms 32, 51)
Forgiving One Another:
5. Saying I’m Sorry (Matthew 5:21-26)
6. Saying You Hurt Me (Matthew 18:15-20)
7. The Power Of A Forgiving Spirit (Romans 12:14, 17-21)
8. The Danger Of A Unforgiving Spirit (Matthew 18:21-35)
When printing lessons, set printer to double-sided w/ flip on short edge.
It has been said that forgiveness is like a door leading to peace and joy. But it’s a small door, and it can’t be entered without stooping – or kneeling. Yet, if we’re willing to humble ourselves and pass through that door, joy and peace awaits us on the other side. I’m truly convinced that when a person forgives another the transformation power of the gospel of grace is at work. Friends, this dark dying world needs more believers who will freely share God’s grace and thereby bring more joy and peace into the lives of others.
It’s my prayer, that as we search the scriptures together, our hearts will be open and receptive to God’s word concerning the grace of forgiveness and that we will be divinely inspired to live out these truths in our lives.