FORGIVENESS is not a FEELING
The Greek word for forgiveness is used 146 times in the New Testament, but is translated “forgive” only 38 times. The other 108 times it is translated “to hurl away,” “send from self,” “to put away,” “to cancel debt,” “release,” “set free.” What does this teach us?
- Forgiveness is an action which causes separation and total detachment from a previous location or condition.
FINDING the FREEDOM to FORGIVE
When we are hurt by someone, one of the hardest acts is to forgive. And yet, when we realize that our greatest need is for God to forgive us of our sins, it helps our perspective change. Ephesians 4 presents a blueprint for true forgiveness. If you follow these five principles, you will experience true healing in your life:
- Acknowledge the pain.
- Remember that God forgave you.
- Clothe yourself in compassion.
- Release the pain.
- Pray for the one who hurt you.
Study and Discussion Questions
1. When it states that God “blots out our sins” and “remembers them no more” (Isaiah 43:25), it means that God will not bring up our past ever again. If we are to be like God when it comes to forgiveness, how are you doing with “not bringing up” another person’s sins? Have you truly given them a new start, or do you hold their sin over them from time to time?
2. We are told that the disciples “immediately left” their nets and boat to follow Jesus (Mark 1:18; Matthew 4:20, 22). This word translated “immediately left” is the same used as forgiveness in other places in the NT. Is there a grudge, a hurt, an offense that you need to “immediately leave” behind?
3. Read James 2:13 and Matthew 5:7. “Mercy” appears to be a key to forgiveness. When you approach a situation where you need to deal with a person’s sin, do you also demonstrate mercy? Or do you have a condemning attitude?
Applying the Word to Life
4. The act of forgiveness is in the “Lord’s Prayer” (Matt. 6:12). Pray this prayer every day this week and when you get to the forgiveness part, ask God to reveal to you if unforgiveness is in your heart. Psalm 66:18 teaches us why it is so important to confess our own sin and to forgive others of their sin.
5. If you are having a hard time forgiving someone, follow the steps of forgiveness on the other side of this handout. To acknowledge the pain, write down every offense you can think of and then as an act of worship to God, release the pain by getting rid of the paper by tearing it up, burning it, or throwing it away. This act might help you heal more than you realize.