We are currently exploring practical, biblical examples of our church’s mission: taking the life-changing reality of Jesus to our neighborhoods, our cities, and our world. Specifically, we’re focusing on eight verbs vital for anyone passionately living to reach others for Christ.
Christians recognize that our faith rests upon one event- the resurrection of Jesus. The apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:14 that “if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” Everything hinges on the resurrection of Jesus, including some practical aspects for our own lives. For example- in the midst of the worst kind of suffering, in the midst of unjust mockery and humiliation, Jesus prayed. He requested forgiveness for his assailants. Incredible.
All of us have experienced suffering. Pain and hurt are all around us, sometimes at the hands of those we love and trust. Jesus, in the midst of cruel, unjust suffering, as a model for us, forgave in the heat and the climax of the offense. As a result, when we first receive the bountiful forgiveness of Jesus Christ, then and only then can we offer forgiveness freely to others.
Much like a relay race, we must make sure to both grab the baton and hand it off smoothly. Receive in the forgiveness of Jesus so that we may forgive out to others.
- How did your parents handle the asking for and receiving of forgiveness in your home when you were growing up? If you are a parent now, do you follow a similar pattern? Why or why not?
- What typically holds us back from forgiving others? Why do we often like to harbor grudges against those who have offended or harmed us?
- How might someone struggle with accepting and believing Christ’s forgiveness in his/her life? Why is receiving Christ’s forgiveness necessary for us to effectively forgive others?
- Spend some time as a group celebrating the forgiveness we have received from Christ. If you are comfortable, share a specific occasion when you experienced Christ’s forgiveness in a deep and meaningful way. Pray that we may continually be refreshed by the forgiveness of Jesus!