GOSPEL-CENTERED LIFE - PART 9
Another week = Another Wednesday night!
We are down to only 2 more youth groups for the school year (I can't believe it!), so we hope to see your students at group tonight. Let's finish strong!
Tonight we continue in our Gospel-Centered Life series by talking about forgiveness.
It is no shock that we live in an unforgiving world. There is a lot of tolerance for variety, but when it comes to truly forgiving another for deep hurt, wrongs done, offense taken, or relationships damaged - pursuing reconciliation is rarely prescribed by our culture at large.
We seek revenge rather than justice. We inwardly see ourselves as justified while others have no excuse. And if forgiveness if considered it is qualified with prerequisites: I'll forgive him if he only would...If she's really sorry then she would...He's done this before, so why should I forgive him. "Fool me once...!"
But what if we lived our lives rooted in the miraculous and generous forgiveness that is given to us in Christ Jesus? What if we sought forgiveness from others when we humbly realize we have wronged somebody else? What if we were able to speak truth in love when wronged and then truly release somebody of their debt - because we have been forgiven an even greater debt by God for our sin that Jesus paid for on the cross?
Gospel-centered forgiveness (on either side of the table) is not an easy thing to live out. But when we consider the freedom we have, reconciled to our Heavenly Father because of what Jesus Christ did for us --- how can we deny one another this gift? Let us consider and encourage one another to reflect the beautiful gospel in the realm of forgiveness each and ever day!
Your students will be given a worksheet of sorts to explore an opportunity in their lives right now where either they should seek forgiveness from another or forgive somebody who has wronged them. Whether they work through these in their small groups or bring them home for further reflection, I hope you consider these questions for yourself in addition to following up with your student!
EXAMINING YOUR HEART FOR FORGIVENESS
1) Think of one or 2 people you need to forgive or forgive more deeply. If you have a hard time thinking of someone, ask God to reveal someone to you.
Examples to think through:
someone you have distance yourself from, people you feel uncomfortable around, people you no longer enjoy, arguments or conflicts you keep rehearsing in your mind, someone who said or did something that hurt you, feelings of anger, bitterness, irritation, fear, gossip, or critical spirits toward someone.
2) What irritates or disturbed you most about this person?
3) What issues of justice are involved in the situation? How has this person wronged you, hurt you, or sinned against you?
4) What conditions do you instinctively want to place on this person before you can truly forgive him or her? In other words, what does your heart want to require from this person before you forgive him or her?
What specifically would you desire the person to say or do?
5) Describe your own debt before God. How has God, in Christ, canceled and forgiven your debt? Do not rush through this question period take time to describe your indebtedness in terms of the specific ways sin manifests itself in your life.
6) How has your previous way of relating to these people reflected a small view of your own debt and a small view of Christ’s forgiveness?