It’s easier to forgive others when we understand what forgiveness is. It’s not about letting people ‘get away’ with something that hurts us. It’s an opportunity for us to move forward instead of letting the offense become a roadblock to success. Forgiveness isn’t a weakness; it’s an attribute of the strong. In Matthew 18:21, the word forgiveness means to let go and leave behind. As you pray today, think of any grudge or offense that you are holding onto. In a symbolic move, clench your fists together and ask God to help you forgive those grudges or offenses. As you end the prayer, open those fists and let them go.
Asking for forgiveness provides us an opportunity to make things right within ourselves and with others. When we wound or offend others, it can cause a rift that, when left unaddressed, breaks relationships and keeps us from moving forward. Psalm 51:10 echoes a focus on repentance and forgiveness. As you read over this verse, reflect on anything you need to ask forgiveness for—whether from God or others. Seek the Lord in prayer for forgiveness and renewal, and courage if you need to ask someone else for forgiveness. Then take next steps to make things right and walk in a renewed spirit.
If someone owed you $150, do you think you would be able to forgive their debt? What if that someone owed you $11,300,000,000, do you think you would be able to forgive that debt? It’s easy for us to decide which circumstances are forgivable or unforgivable, but Jesus instructs us to look at it differently. He tells us in Matthew 18:22 to stop keeping a record and to stop labeling what is forgivable or not. To Him, ALL things can be forgiven! Take some time today to thank the Lord for His forgiveness in your life and ask Him to help you embrace forgiveness the way He does.
If you heard the message on Sunday (if you missed it, listen to the podcast!), you’ll probably never forget the word ‘splagnchnon.’ It sounds funny, but it’s a word that describes a gut feeling. It’s often used to signify feelings of sympathy, compassion, mercy, and grace. Make time today to read over Ephesians 4:31-32. Pray through this verse and write down any attitudes or circumstances you need to realign to reflect the guidance of this verse. Then, seek out a trusted friend who will motivate you to make steps forward in the journey to become more like Jesus as you tackle that list for the glory of His name!
We get the choice each day to decide what kind of world we want to live in. We have to decide if we’re going to live in a world where we are fighting over our slice of the pie, or if we want to live in the flow of grace and mercy. Jesus operates in a completely different economy of grace, favor, blessing, and the canceling of debts. So if we want to become more like Jesus, we need to be willing to create that world in and through our everyday lives. Read over Colossians 3:1-17 and highlight any words that challenge you to move closer to the life that Christ lived. Ask the Lord, in prayer, to help you walk His way.
TALK IT OVER
- What types of books do you like to read?
- What was your favorite childhood story?
- What’s been on your reading list lately?
- Why do you think Jesus answered in parables when he could have easily just given straight answers?
- Why do you think Peter was so focused on the number of times he should forgive someone?
- If someone owed you $150, do you think you would be able to forgive their debt?
- If someone owed you $11,300,000,000, do you think you would be able to forgive their debt?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how hard did you laugh when Dan talked about Splagnchnon? (have your bowels yearn for something)
- Why is it easier to forgive some people and not others?
- Why is it hard for people to accept forgiveness?
- What would our world look like if more people understood this biblical concept of forgiveness illustrated in the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant?
- How do we make moves to embrace this biblical concept of forgiveness in our everyday lives?