Small Group Discussion Guide
• Share a story of when you really messed up and had to ask another person to forgive you.
1. Who would you say is the most dysfunctional character in the Bible? Why do you think God included his (her) story in the Bible?
2. Read Matthew 6:14-15 and I John 1:9. * Why do you think forgiving others is crucial to maintaining a proper relationship with God?
[* NOTE: The verses above do not refer to eternal forgiveness that makes us right with God and gives us a place in heaven – that forgiveness is clearly spelled out in the New Testament as a free gift of God given to all those who put their faith in Jesus (see John 3:16; Ephesians 1:7, Ephesians 2:8-9, etc.). The verses above refer to a relational forgiveness that affects our day-to-day relationship with God and people here on earth.]
3. Read Matthew 18:21-22 and I John 2:9-11. Why do you think forgiving others is crucial to maintaining a proper relationship with other people?
4. Comment on this quote: “Unforgiveness is the poison we take, hoping it will kill someone else.”
5. How is unforgiveness like a chain we carry around in our lives, that keeps us from being free?
6. Read Ephesians 4:31-32; Proverbs 24:29; Romans 12:17-19
- Why is forgiving people so difficult at times?
- How do anger and revenge tie into the concept of forgiveness?
- What should you do if it’s not possible “to live at peace” with someone?
7. Read Colossians 3:13
• How does focusing on Jesus’ forgiveness of you help you to forgive others?
Identify the people who have hurt you and write down their names.
Determine what you believe they owe you – be specific.
Cancel their debt.
How do you cancel their debt? Mark ‘paid-in-full’ on this piece of paper... then bury it, burn it, read it to an accountability partner or shred it. Because these people owe you something, forgiveness releases a real, legitimate debt. Forgiveness does not settle the question of blame or fairness. Instead, when you cancel a debt, you’re saying: ‘I let go of my right to get even with you, hurt you, or seek revenge. You don’t owe me anymore. This may never be right in the way I’d like it to be, but I release you from the obligation that I feel you owe me. I’m not going to bring it back up or use it against you.’