07.21.2019 | “12 WORDS | Wk 8: Resentment”
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Think about a time when you were wrong but refused to admit it for way too long. What happened? What kept you from admitting it?
Read Matthew 18:21-35.
Before we begin – it’s important to recognize that this parable is meant to feel intense. Are there any parts of it that really hit you on first read?
Next – take time to walk through the major themes of this parable.
First – at the heart of the parable is our own forgiveness by God & other people, & how that should change how we forgive others.
Share about a time in your life when you’ve been forgiven a lot & didn’t deserve it. What happened? How did that impact you?
Next – the parable highlights how often we forget our forgiveness when it comes time for us to forgive those who wrong us.
What do you think stands in the way of the unforgiving servant extending the same forgiveness to others? What role does forgetfulness (forgetting our own forgiveness before God/others) & entitlement (feeling like we deserve to be forgiven/forgiveness is owed to us, not a gift) play in the unforgiving servant’s response to the other servant?
Share about a time when you’ve failed to forgive someone, despite the fact that we have been shown forgiveness by others & God in big ways.
Why do you think it is so hard to extend forgiveness to others, even though we have often been shown it ourselves?
Re-read verse 35. Jesus identifies the state of our hearts as the determining factor for whether we turn to forgiveness & unforgiveness. In the New Testament time, the heart was not the place where human emotions/feelings were found, unlike in our culture today. The heart was the metaphor for where human will & choices came from.
How do you respond to the idea that forgiveness & unforgiveness are both choices that we need to make – not necessarily tied to how we feel about another person? Does this change how you understand this move of forgiveness?
Jesus also connects our willingness to forgive to our being apart of God’s forgiveness movement in the world – linking this heart change to being apart of God’s Kingdom work & discipleship.
Why do you think Jesus says this is so important for being part of his Kingdom & being a disciple of his?
Think of a person you are struggling to forgive. What do you think unforgiveness is costing you? Do you feel like it would help you heal if you were able to heal in that area? What might it look like to take a step towards forgiveness?
Getting Out of the Hole
Continue reflecting on what you are working to change & grow in during this season (see: Going Deeper for Control for context). This week, take time to reflect on forgiveness.
Take time this week to write down the names of people that you are currently struggling to forgive. Take time to reflect on what it might mean to heal in that part of your life. If it is safe, consider how to begin the work of reconciliation or amends. If not, think about steps you can begin to take to heal your heart so you can begin to move forward.
Don’t try to walk the path of forgiveness (especially with deep wounds) alone. Share some of your thoughts with someone in your group.
Forgiving As We’ve Been Forgiven: Community Practices for Making Peace by L. Gregory Jones & Celestin Musekura
God and the Victim: Theological Reflections on Evil, Victimization, Justice, and Forgiveness edited by Lisa Barnes Lampman
Coming Up This Week:*
Sunday, July 28: Join us for the next week of our series 12 Words as we explore the essentials of faith & spirituality. We will be discussing Avoidance & Reconciliation.
* Please see mye3.org for details.