Our lesson today starts with some instructions on prayer and ends with instructions on forgiveness. In between is The Lord’s Prayer, which is a model for our prayer life.
There are many reasons why we sometimes have difficulty forgiving. Our author suggests three reasons: “I will forgive her when…”, “I should forgive him, but…”, “I might forgive him if…”.
Think from your past, or present, someone you wouldn’t want to meet in a store or elevator, because you’ve been wounded and haven’t forgiven.
The fifth request in The Lord’s Prayer is about forgiveness…”Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”
What comes to mind when you think of The Lord’s Prayer? Previous to The Lord’s Prayer, what instructions does Jesus give in verses 5-8? What was Jesus trying to show us about praying in an inner room…in our relationship with the Father? What does The Lord’s Prayer teach us about our daily needs?
Our author says that some have concluded that God’s forgiveness is earned by our forgiveness. Others believe that our forgiveness of others is the evidence that God has forgiven us. Think about these statements. Why do you believe one is correct…and, why?
What does Jesus say in verses 14-15 about our willingness to forgive? Think about some excuses you have for lack of forgiveness. If another believer came to you for counsel, how would you explain to them their need to forgive someone who has offended them?
Should forgiveness excuse the other person from the consequences of their actions? Why…or, why not? The final phrase of The Lord’s Prayers tells us to ask, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
In closing, what specific things can we as individuals, or our church as a body, do to demonstrate to our community that we are a forgiving community of believers?
We have focused on showing forgiveness to others, but think about your life and when you may have hurt someone else. What do you need to do to address that situation?
Thank you for studying this lesson with us. Please let me know if you have any questions.
— Pastor John