The process of forgiveness
This message will be focused on the process whereby a person may need to forgive another. It will help the member to understand that sometimes forgiveness is an once off situation and done immediately, but sometimes it may take time to work through the process of forgiveness.
For this message any fun and welcoming ice breaker could work.
The evening might become tough and somewhat confronting, so a light mood will help alleviate some of the potentially awkward situations.
If there are new members always be careful of not creating a space where new members feel exposed or uncomfortable
Research some scriptures that deals with forgiveness, especially how God forgives His children. Make sure you understand the context between God’s capacity for forgiveness and the carnal restrictions we face when it comes to forgiving one another or ourselves.
Set the stage with Matthew 18:21-22 and ask the members why the scripture refers to forgiving your brother 70 x 7 times?
You might forgive a person this week with sincerity, and by the time you take communion, you realise that your heart is not yet at peace towards your brother.
Possible quote to use: "To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you." – Lewis B Smedes
The following could be relevant questions to ask:
- What stands out in the text for you?
- Ask the group what would happen to us is we had to ask God for forgiveness of all the trespasses we had done towards him, and for every one of those sins had to ask forgiveness 70 x 7 times?
- Why does an unforgiving spirit cause separation between us and God?
- Why 70x7? Does this indicate that forgiveness might be a process in certain cases?
- What will happen if I forgive a person? Will God just leave the situation and cause no justice to be served?
- How will I know that I have truly forgiven a person and that my heart is right with him/her?
It would be wise to use some additional scriptures to explain the concept better.
Verses such as:
Matthew 6:14- If you forgive men their trespasses, the Father will forgive you.
Ephesians 4:32- Be kind to one another tenderhearted, forgiving one another.
Luke 6:37- Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.
Songs that focus on the blood of Jesus, mercy and the grace of God might be relevant.
It is vital to ask the right questions and also manage the embers to understand that this may be a very sensitive topic. Be vigilant of people giving a fleshly driven word to the lady with the tears running from her face.
You can pray for some members