Forgiveness frees you from vengeance and vindication.
Romans 12:16-19, Psalm 17:2, Isaiah 53:1,5,10-11
- Being right isn’t about vindication, but restoration.
- Forgiveness and reconciliation are two different things.
- Forgiveness doesn’t eliminate the consequences or the cost.
- To forgive is an act of liberation and a way to freedom.
- Forgiveness abolishes the scales completely.
- Focus on forgiveness first.
- We must understand the implications forgiveness has on our own lives before we deal with the implications it has on our relationships.
“To forgive another person from the heart is an act of liberation. We set that person free from the negative bonds that exist between us. We say, “I no longer hold your offense against you.” But there is more. We also free ourselves from the burden of being the “offended one.” As long as we do not forgive those who have wounded us, we carry them with us, or worse, pull them as a heavy load. The great temptation is to cling in anger to our enemies and then define ourselves as being offended and wounded by them. Forgiveness, therefore, liberates not only the other but also ourselves. It is the way to freedom for the children of God.” – Henri Nouwen
- What is your initial reaction to the quote above? Do you view forgiveness as an act of liberation? Why or why not? What makes you answer in the way that you do?
- What causes you to hesitate to extend forgiveness?
- How have you allowed your wounds to define you? Where do you still see yourself as the offended one?
“O Lord, deliver me from this lust of always vindicating myself.” – St. Augustine
- Read Romans 12:16-19. How does this passage speak to forgiveness and reconciliation being two different things? Why should our willingness to forgive be independent from the response of the offender?\
- Read Psalm 17:2 and the quote from St. Augustine. How does God’s forgiveness free you from seeking vengeance and vindication? What is the allure to vindicate ourselves?
- Read Isaiah 53:1,5,10-11. According to this passage, what causes God anguish and what brings Him satisfaction? How does God shouldering the weight of our sin pave the way for forgiveness?
- Where are you seeking vengeance and vindication?What would it look like for you to focus on forgiveness first and worry about the details of the relationship later?
- Why do you want to be right in this situation?
- What would it look like for you to focus on forgiveness first and worry about the details of the relationship later?
Forgiveness frees us from the pressure to perform and empowers us to love.
Isaiah 53:1-6, Luke 5:17-26, 1 John 1:8-10, and Colossians 3:12-14
- Forgiveness paves the path for trust. It doesn’t guarantee a restored relationship but it does guarantee a restored soul.
- Forgiveness is a choice to resume a relationship.
- Forgiveness is the way we can be right.
- We have found the right solution to the wrong problem.
- Unforgiveness leaves us under the pressure to measure up and make up.
- As we embark on a 6-week series on forgiveness, we must first get on the same page with our language. How would you define forgiveness?
- Fill in the blanks: (1) I find it most challenging to forgive when ___________.
(2) I find it most challenging to receive forgiveness when __________.
- What makes us feel the need to earn our forgiveness in our human relationships or our relationship with God?
- Read 1 John 1:8-10. How do we misinterpret this passage and create an apology theology? What is the danger in this mindset and how does it push us to perform?
- Read Luke 5:17-26. How were the crippled man’s friends looking for the right solution to the wrong problem? What did Jesus want them to understand about what their greatest need was?
- Read Isaiah 53:1-6. How does this passage speak to forgiveness not being free, but coming at cost? How did Jesus absorb the debt we owed? What does it mean that “we like sheep have gone astray”?
- Where are you struggling with the pressure to measure up and make up?
- Forgiveness is a choice to resume a relationship. What relationship has been damaged due to unforgiveness?
- Read Colossians 3:12-14. What would it look like for you to begin to develop an overall orientation towards forgiveness? If we are going to be in relationships with others, why is forgiveness necessary?
The struggle against sin leads you to the cross.
Galatians 5:13-26, Romans 13:11-14
- You don’t master sin by willpower; you master sin by surrender.
- Where there is no condemnation, you’ll find the freedom you are looking for.
- The way to fight temptation is to surrender.
- To love is to bear the image of God to the people around you.