God wants people to feel forgiven and offer forgiveness to others. Yet today many are burdened with guilt and are divided by anger, resentment and stress. This week we will explore God’s word as we discover the joy and peace that comes from accepting and giving forgiveness.
MONDAY: THE PAIN OF BEING UNFORGIVEN
1. David wrote Psalm 32 after he was confronted with the adulterous relationship he had with Bathsheba and the eventual murder of her husband (2 Samuel 11-12). In this Psalm he graphically describes the pain that fills a guilt-laden heart.
2. Read Psalm 32:1-2 - How does David describe a man who finds God forgiveness?
What physical affects did his guilt have on David? (Psalm 32:3-4)
3. In the midst of his guilt induced fatigue and frustration, what did David finally do? (Psalm 32:5) What resulted from David’s actions (32:5b)?
4. What one word would you use to describe David’s attitude/situation in Psalm 32:1-4? What one word would you use to describe David’s attitude/situation in Psalm 32:5-11?
FAITH STEP: What sins do you need to confess to God? Confess them in prayer and than claim his promises. Write down the last 7 words of Psalm 32:5 on an index card and carry it with you this week. Every time Satan tries to make you feel guilty over confessed sin, pull it out and read it aloud. Enjoy the forgiveness we have in Christ.
TUESDAY: THE PURCHASE OF FORGIVENESS
1. Read Ezekiel 18:4, 20; Romans 6:23. What is the ultimate consequence of sin?
2. God in his mercy, knowing that we could not save ourselves, allowed for a substitute to pay our debt for us. God in his wisdom provided that the innocent could die for the guilt, the pure could die in the place of the impure. This plan satisfied God’s justice while allowing his mercy to erase the marks of our sin. The problem was who could be found that was holy, pure and righteous to be acceptable to God as a substitute for us. God found the answer in His Son. Read 2 Corinthians 5:21. Who became sin for us? Why did he do this?
3. God’s forgiveness is freely offered to us, but it was not free. What price did Jesus pay for our forgiveness? Read these verse and write down the cost found in each verse – Isaiah 53:6, John 1:14, Hebrews 2:14-17, 2 Corinthians 5:21)
FAITH STEP: Romans 3:23 says the eternal life is a gift from God. But even though it is freely given to us we can see that the forgiveness we enjoy came at a great price to Jesus. Take a few minutes and write a thank you note to Jesus – thanking him for the gift he gave you.
WEDNESDAY: THE PAST IS PAST
1. 2 Samuel 11-12 tells the heartbreaking story of David and Bathsheba. While reading these chapters look for the answers to the following:
After David learned that Bathsheba was pregnant what plan did he develop in order to get rid of her husband?
How did God feel about David’s actions? (11:27)
What did Nathan say about David’s sin? (12:9-10)
How did David respond to Nathan’s rebuke? Did God forgive David? Did Davis still pay consequences for his sin? (12: 13)
2. Read 1 Kings 14:8. How does God later describe David? What does that shoe you about God?
FAITH STEP: David was not forgiven because of good works but because he confessed and repented of his sins. I Kings 14 shows us how God saw David after he confessed his sins. God didn’t see David in that light because he was innocent but because he was FORGIVEN! Are their sins you are still feeling guilty for that God has already forgiven? You need to act on those false feelings of guilt and claim God’s promises. God still did great things with David’s life after his sin and he will still use you for his glory as well. The past is past and I am free to live for God today! If there are sins you need to confess do so than move on in the light of God’s grace.
THURSDAY: LEARNING TO FORGIVE
The past three days we have tried to grasp the God’s forgiveness that HE has offered us. Learning how we are forgiven helps us to be forgiving. In a world where resentment and revenge rules the day it is good to know that in Christ we can find the freedom of that comes form being forgiving.
1. Read Colossians 3:13. What does it mean to “bear” with one another? List two ways that your family, friends or co-workers “bear” with you? According to this verse how are to forgive?
2. Read Ephesians 4:32. How are we to forgive each other?
3. Read 1 Corinthians 13:5. What does a loving person do with the wrongs committed against him?
4. The word for love in 1 Corinthians 13 is the Greek word for “unconditional love”. It is a commitment to do the right thing in spite of your feelings. Forgiveness too is a choice. It is doing the loving thing, desiring what is best for the one that hurt you in spite of your feelings. It is a process – a step of faith. It is releasing the one that hurt you from any desires to get revenge. It is being like God.
FAITH STEP: Who do you need to forgive? Write down their name. Pray FOR them (not about them), asking God to bless them and asking God to help you act more forgiving.
FRIDAY: HOW OFTEN SHOULD I FORGIVE?
1. Read Matthew 18:21-35. Peter putting a number on his question (7 times) shows that he was still being legalist-still keeping score. What did Jesus mean when he said to Peter you are to forgive 70 X 7 times (or 77 times)?
2. “The kingdom of heaven” in verse 23 does not refer to a physical realm but to the rule and reign of God. Jesus is saying in verse 23 that If you claim God as your king than this story illustrates how you are to live. Which character in this story does God want us to be like? Which one more accurately describes your relationship with others?
3. This parable can be divided into three scenes. Scene 1 is found in verses 23-27. Scenes two is found in verses 28-31 and scene three is found in verses 32-34. What title would you give each scene?
4. What was the only thing that saved the servant who owed the big debt? What is the only thing that saves you from the debt you owed God?
5. What does verse 35 teach us about forgiveness?
FAITH STEP: If you have children you may want to have a family time where you have each member act out the parable as the narrator reads the story. What lessons can you teach them? If you do not have children read the parable and ask. “What example in this story should I follow? What attitude should I avoid? What prayer should I pray after reading this story?
SATURDAY: OVERCOMING RESENTMENT
1. Forgiveness is something we need to do, not only because God commands it but because it is what is best for us. Resentment and hatred allows the one we resent to continue to control our life. Read the following Scriptures and jot down how resentment affected these people - Mark 16:18-19, Genesis 37:4, Acts 23:12.
2. Read Romans 12:17-21 to sees God’s cure for a resentful heart. Who is that you can do “good to” today to help you on the road to forgiving them? Think of something you can do and do it before Monday. Pray for God to help you grow I forgiveness.