Forgiven & Forgiving

It is the ability to receive God’s embrace that empowers us to embrace others.

1 John 3:16 We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. NIV

Jesus only reiterates one portion of the Lord’s Prayer. His reiteration is about provision or God’s Kingdom coming. He reiterates the ever-important matter of forgiveness.

So what is true forgiveness? Luke 6:28 says we are not only to get over people who mean us harm but actually we are to bless those who curse us and pray for those who mistreat us. Praying for them is not like Jaron Lowenstein’s song, “Pray For You”:  

The word “forgiveness” gives the idea of canceling a debt that is owed. Wouldn’t it be great if the $22 trillion debt of our gov could be cancelled? Wouldn’t you love to have someone knock on your door and tell you every debt you have has been forgiven.

Forgiving others is truly a struggle and this is why it is such a recurring topic in the Bible. Jesus said it is impossible that no offenses will come…” (Luke 17:1)

You are going to be hurt! You are going to be offended. Your response will restrict or release God’s reach.

The amazing story of Joseph and forgiveness is spread over 10 chapters from Gen 37-46.

Anybody ever feel like every time you make a little progress you get kicked in the teeth and knocked back down? Joseph was blessed by God and hated because of it.

He was sold into slavery and traded like property. As a slave he was destined to remain a slave until he died. He could only marry a slave and his children would be born into slavery impacted the entire legacy of his life.

It would have been hard to be born a slave, but how much worse to be born a wealthy heir and have all of those dreams ripped away. However Joseph guards his heart and God’s blessing continues in his life! 

He’s lied about, neglected and then forgotten in prison. We read in 1 Kings 22:27 and Prov 20:17 interesting references to bread of affliction and having gravel in your mouth as a result of stealing. This is referencing the typical treatment of prisoners to receive only enough bread to keep them alive and to bake gravel into the bread just for added torment.

With all of this undeserved accusation, neglect and torment none of us would blame Joseph for resentment and event plotting revenge if he ever got out of prison. 

Resentment and revenge, however, would have been a pathway to killing his brothers. The promise of Jesus was coming through Judah and this lineage through which the world would be saved had to be protected!

This was not just about Joseph. Your situation is not just about you. We really have no idea how fatal it is to rehearse hurts and resentment.

Joseph stayed free from offense and God’s plans were set into motion. Are you free from offense? We know Joseph was truly free from offense because he voiced concern about how his brothers would feel about what they had done to him. It is one thing to get past the wrong somebody did to you. It is quite another to want them not to feel bad about the wrong they did to you.

Gen 45:5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you… NIV

Do you want the best for those who have hurt you?

When someone is hateful being the bigger person seems like the right thing to do. But we should never be motivated to be bigger or better than anyone. We must learn to be broken and surrendered to Jesus enough to love no matter what is done or said. 

We Bring GP2RL Action Point:

Verbalize your forgiveness every day this week on purpose as part of your prayer time with God.


Click here for a downloadable pdf file of this guide.

LEADERS NOTES: In this season we are addressing how only God’s love can reach deeply enough into our souls to restore our lives. This is the place where we begin finding confidence and strength to love God and to love others as we love ourselves because we have learned to love ourselves.

THE POINT: God’s love unlocks our lives. We are taking two weeks here to focus on the power of forgiveness and the dangers of unforgiveness. 


1.   What are some of common reasons why forgiveness can be so difficult?

1 John 3:16 We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. NIV


2.    What characteristics in your life might indicate that you haven’t fully forgiven past hurts, even if you know in your head what you need to do?

3.    Some responses to hurt and offense are not obvious. Instead of an outburst of anger or hope for revenge, there is the quiet, subtle eating away—the “gnawing teeth”—of a bitter heart. Is this your response to those who hurt you? Why can this kind of response be even more deadly than an outburst?

The choice to forgive sometimes plunges us into the school of discipline. God uses the hurts and offenses of others as a tool to shape our character and show us our need to walk more closely with Him. The discipline of forgiveness makes us more like Christ, and it is for our good (Hebrews 12:10). As you continue to work through this study, watch for ways that God might want to transform your life through the power of forgiveness.


4.   God gave us our emotions, and He wants us to use them wisely. Emotions may affect our natural ability to be willing to forgive, but do our emotions have to change before we can forgive?

Pain wants to cripple your life, hold your mind hostage & restrict you in every way. Manage the pain, forgive & live again!

We Bring GP2RL Action Point:

Verbalize your forgiveness every day this week on purpose as part of your prayer time with God. 

(This is a great question to find out what God is speaking to your group overall.)


5.   What is something God has been speaking to you or revealing in Scripture recently?