• Matt Beaney

#614 (2/6/22) FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS



‘Love…keeps no record of wrongs.’ (1 Corinthians 13:5)
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.’ (James 5:16)
‘For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight…’ (Psalm 51:3-4)

Forgiveness or confession is, I believe, a forgotten practice for many Christians. Forgiveness is something that we are to do each day: We are to seek forgiveness from God, give forgiveness to those who have hurt us, and, on occasion, go and talk to people about how they have hurt us or in order to seek forgiveness from them. Why do we fail to do this? Maybe you disagree with me and you are regularly confessing sin and practising forgiveness, but I don’t think that this is common. Whatever the reasons for our failure, let’s seek to grow in the loving practice of keeping no record of wrongs.


The Lord’s Prayer teaches us that we are to forgive and seek forgiveness every day:

‘…And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors…’ (Matthew 6:12)

This is a sure way of protecting ourselves from growing resentment. Every small and large relational conflict is to be prayerfully forgiven. This daily practice keeps us humble and gracious to others. Paul Tripp writes:

‘But I have learned that the more I am bathing my heart in the wonder of God’s forgiveness of me, the more willing I am to forgive others.’ (Paul Tripp, Lead)

RESPONSE

Regular, daily, confession of sin to God, sometimes to others, is a sure way of keep us loving and merciful toward those who sin against us. As with how Jesus taught us to pray, I encourage you to include a moment of ‘peacemaking’ in your devotions; spend time confessing sin and forgiving sin.

 

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY

1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

 

2. Icebreaker

Do you have any encouragements to share from how God has been speaking to you from His word recently?

 

3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group


On Sunday, we continued with our series 'Becoming Love' from the book of 1 Corinthians, looking at the next aspect of love.


Please read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7


Last week we looked at how 'Love…is not easily angered…’. This week, we are considering the next attribute of Christian love: ‘Love…keeps no record of wrongs.’


True love -Christian love (Apapé) - keeps no record of wrongs. The word ‘keeps no record…’ (logizomai) means to account and reckon. Like a man counting his money, one who keeps a record of wrongs counts up his past hurts. A hoarder is someone who keeps hold of things in case it comes in handy only to find that his life is a mess; likewise, we are all tempted to hoard how people have hurt us and it just damages and corrupts our lives and relationships.


Forgiveness (aphiémi) is to send away and leave alone. When we forgive we ‘give’ the sin of others against us to God. We leave judgement to Him. We are acting like God who sends our sin away onto Christ.


Forgiveness can be compared to wiping the slate clean: in the past, a debt was sometimes recorded in chalk on a piece of slate; when the debt was paid, the records was wiped away. Someone explained forgiveness as:

'Forgiveness is me giving up my right to hurt you for hurting me. - Anonymous'

This is what God does to us in justification and it's what we need to do for others who sin against us.


Like the returning prodigal son in Luke 15, we deserve nothing, however, the Father welcomes us home, declaring: "Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him..." Our Father forgives us. We now have a choice: we can be like the Father and be quick to forgive; alternatively, we can be like the older brother in the story who kept a record of wrongs saying: "When this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!"



Discussion questions

i) Did you feel that God spoke to you from any particular aspect of Sunday's message?

ii) What is forgiveness?

iii) This section on love is about the correct use of spiritual gifts; how will keeping no record of wrongs help us to have a church in which the gifts of the Spirit are used healthily?

iv) When is it right to forgive secretly - between you and God, and when is it right to go to a person to ask for forgiveness or confront them about how they have hurt you?


SIV - What effect will the avoidance of unforgiveness have on our witness?

SIV - Do you have any encouraging stories of sharing your faith with your friends?

SIV - How do you plan to 'serve, invest and invite' into your friendships?

SIV - Let's pray for the Spirit to lead us in reaching our community.










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