Every friendship will eventually face tension. Sometimes that tension will be the beginning of the end, as friendships fizzle and fade. But what if there was another option? This week we’ll look at Jesus‘ example of using the power of forgiveness to reinvigorate even the most challenging friendships.
To see the leader guide for this week CLICK HERE
Group Discussion Guide
Spend a few minutes discussing with your group how last week’s application went. What were the highs and lows of your week?
After your time of connecting, begin your meeting with prayer.
Matthew 5:7 “God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”
**When practiced consistently, memorizing Bible verses can be a very important spiritual practice that centers your mind around the truth that God has given us.
Friendships are wonderful, but they can be difficult to work through sometimes. Unfortunately, this can lead to people hurting each other because of their actions or words. When this is unresolved, it can create a strong tension that can destroy a friendship. Thankfully, in the Bible, we read that Jesus not only knew these tensions happen, but also that this tension doesn’t have to be the end of a relationship. He showed that forgiveness is an essential part of a strong, developed relationship by giving us an example of how to love and forgive others well. Today, as we look at the friendship essential of forgiveness, we will see that when we do our best to ask for forgiveness from those we hurt or forgive those that have hurt us, we can find resolution and peace within our relationships. This leads us to our big idea for the week:
Big Idea for the week: God invites us to experience the power of forgiveness in our friendships.
- Within your friendships, are you typically the person forgiving or the person asking for forgiveness?
- Have you found it easy or difficult to forgive people in your life?
- Have you ever believed you won’t be able to forgive one of your friends?
- What ended up happening with that relationship?
Go around your group and have someone read each of the following verses, then discuss the connected questions.
- What is the difference between forgiveness and reconciling with someone? How important are both actions in a relationship?
- What does “making allowance for each other’s faults” mean? How can we do this consistently?
- What does living in peace with everyone around you look like, practically?
- What is the difference between seeking peace and allowing abuse in friendships? How can we manage this difference?
- How does our culture think about love and forgiveness? How does this differ from how Jesus teaches in the two sections of verses we just read?
- How can reminding ourselves of God’s forgiveness for us help to forgive others?
Based on the verses we just read, there are some things that we can do in response. Take a moment to discuss these questions as a group to determine what your personal action steps for the week can be:
- Are there areas where you need to ask for forgiveness or to forgive within a relationship this week?
- What are some ways you can work to reconcile with someone you have tension with over the course of this week?
- How can you rely on God to help you pursue peace in your friendships? What are some practical steps you can begin taking?
Jesus knew that when forgiveness is given and received, people gain the freedom to build stronger relationships, so he went out of his way to show his followers his presence and leave an example of how to live well with others during tensions. Jesus invites us to follow this example! The basis for Jesus’ example comes from his death for our sake; because Jesus died for us physically, we can metaphorically “die” to our own desires. Jesus put everyone’s needs above his own so we love others by putting their needs above ours as well. This example is an invitation to love as he loved and, while we should not open ourselves to destruction or abuse in our friendships, we are challenged by Jesus’ forgiveness to walk through tension toward resolution, fueled by his love. Let’s do this together with Jesus as our guide!
Daily Bible Reading
Use the S.O.A.P. method to reflect on the verses below.
Scripture: Read the verses several times out loud.
Observation: As you read the scripture what do you observe.
Application: What is God wanting you to believe, do or feel based on what you have read?
Pray: This is a chance to talk to God about what you have read, and ask him for help in living out what you’ve learned.
- Day 1: Matthew 6:9-13
- Day 2: Ephesians 4:26-27
- Day 3: 1 Peter 3:9
- Day 4: 1 John 4:20-21
- Day 5: Luke 6:27-31
- Day 6: Hebrews 12:14-15