Welcome to the final week of our winter series The Grace Effect. This series helps us understand how grace should inspire whole life generosity and that gift receivers become gift givers. This week our conversation is about forgiveness, and how it is a vital part of whole life generosity.
Building healthy and life-giving relationships.
What has been new or challenging in your life since last time the group met? Spend 20–30 minutes checking in with each other.
How have you been doing with building others up with your words over the past week? How can your group be praying for each other especially concerning words?
Share part of your story
What is one thing you look forward to doing this spring?
Taking next steps toward Christ together.
Look back to Ephesians 4:31-32. Identify the main themes, big ideas and key words in these verses.
Why is forgiveness such an essential element in our walk with Christ?
What Forgiveness Isn’t
Forgiveness isn’t acting like something never happened. It doesn’t automatically restore trust. What does it mean that forgiveness is not the same as trust? Why do you think forgiveness doesn’t always lead to restoration? How is forgiveness different than reunification? Why do you think some people think forgiveness requires trust, restoration and reunification? Have you ever felt like it did? What happened?
Who do you struggle to forgive? How can the group be praying for your heart to change toward that person?
This past weekend, Senior Pastor Jeff Manion talked about forgiveness being a practiced choice we make rather than a feeling. How does prayer play a part in this? Why might we ask God for His strength to extend forgiveness when it seems difficult or painful?
When someone hurts us, we often only view them for the pain they have caused. We only see them as a liar, cheat, jerk, etc. Why do you think people tend to do this? Have you ever felt like someone only viewed you as a label, such as a liar, cheat, jerk, etc.? How did that make you feel?
Why do you think it is important that we remember to include people back into the circle of humanity? Is this easy or hard for you?
Seeing someone as a person and not just a label is often a first step in forgiving them. A second step is giving up our desire for payment. Why is getting even such a big deal to most people? Is giving up the right to get even something that is easy or hard for you? Why?
What makes giving up our right to get even such a crucial step in forgiveness? What might this look like in your life?
A final step in forgiveness is often wishing someone well. Discuss the following statement: You can know you have forgiven someone if you truly wish them good will.
There are three steps in forgiveness: recognizing a person’s humanity, letting go of the need for payment, and wishing someone good will. Which is the hardest for you right now?
What’s the difference between the three steps of forgiveness and the three things forgiveness isn’t?
The Grace Effect means gift receivers become gift givers. Do you feel like most people think they need to be forgiven or do they think they are good on their own?
Sometimes we slip into thinking we really aren’t that bad. How does this diminish The Grace Effect? Do you feel like it keeps us from offering forgiveness to others? Why or why not?
How should recognizing our own sin and need for Christ help us be more forgiving? How can we do this on a regular basis?
Jesus displayed generous forgiveness on the cross but also his ministry on earth. Jesus had a heart open and always ready to extend forgiveness. How does having a heart ready to forgive act as a mark of maturity in our walk with God? What are some ways you’ve been able to grow in this area?
The Grace Effect has been about whole-life generosity. We’ve talked about hospitality, finances, serving, words and forgiveness. Is there one area you feel God prompting you to make changes? What’s one next step you can take to become more generous in that area?
INVEST IN OTHERS
Valuing people outside the group and outside the faith.
Do you have any generosity stories to share of how you have been generous because of this series? What can your group do in the month of March to be generous together?
Download a printable PDF here.