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Bible Study: Power to forgive

NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.

This week’s Bible study is adapted from the Bible Studies For Life curriculum.

Bible Passage: Matthew 18:21-35

Discussion Questions:
— When was the last time it cost you a lot to fix something?
— How dependent is your forgiveness on someone else’s apology?
— Since Jesus has forgiven us, what hinders us from forgiving others?

Food for Thought:

Forgiving someone who has hurt you is one of the most difficult things that Jesus asks us to do. But God knows that forgiveness is necessary for healthy marriages, healthy families and healthy churches. Forgiveness is not always easy, but even as Christ has forgiven us, He empowers us by His Spirit to forgive others. We can overcome past hurts and set our relationships free through forgiveness.

Corrie ten Boom was a woman who lived through the nightmare of a Nazi concentration camp. She was the only one in her family who made it out alive. In that hellish place, she was humiliated, especially in the delousing shower where the women were watched by the leering guards. By the grace of God, Corrie survived it all and found it in her heart to forgive — or so she thought.

Corrie traveled extensively to share her testimony of God’s forgiveness. One Sunday in a church in Munich, after she shared her story, a man approached her with his hand outstretched.

“A fine message, Fräulein!” he said. “How good it is to know, as you say, all our sins are at the bottom of the sea! Young lady, it is wonderful that Jesus forgives us all our sins, just as you say. … But I would like to hear it from your lips as well. Fräulein, will you forgive me?”

As she shared in her autobiography, “Corrie ten Boom, Tramp for the Lord,” she recognized his face instantly. This was the leering, mocking face of one of the cruelest guards in the shower stall. Her hand froze by her side. Coldness clutched her heart. Ashamed at herself, she prayed, “Jesus help me! I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling.” As she prayed, her hand became unfrozen. The ice of hate melted, and her hand went out. “I forgive you, brother! With all my heart!” She forgave as she was forgiven.

Have you ever prayed a prayer like that? Have you asked Jesus to supply the power to set others free with extravagant grace?

Bible Studies for Life
Bible Studies for Life connects the Bible to life for adults, students and kids. Bible Studies for Life helps individuals and groups know God’s Word through trustworthy content, creates biblical community through engaging and conversational group studies, and helps people engage the culture missionally by unpacking what the Bible says about real-life issues. More information can be found on the internet at www.biblestudiesforlife.com.

Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool or ordered at LifeWay Christian Stores.

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  • Staff/Lifeway Christian Resources