A 60-year old man named Bill talked about his son, Jeff. Jeff was a small boy when Bill left (divorced) his wife and his kids to marry another woman. As a result, Jeff hated his father for 40 years and could not forgive him. But finally Jeff realized that he could not make progress in life unless he stopped hating his father. This year, Jeff forgave his father and now they are friends.
When someone hurts us, there are three basic responses that often occur:
1. the person hurt wants revenge - wants to hurt the person who hurt them
2. the person hurt tries to avoid the person who hurt them
3. the person hurt forgives the person who hurt them and they continue on as friends
What do you think of these responses? What is easier? What is harder? What is best? Why?
How do you respond to someone who has hurt you, your family or something that is important to you? Do you use one or more of the three common responses? Give an example of how you responded in a hurtful situation.
Some countries or peoples have hated other countries or peoples for centuries. Is it right for one ethnic group to hate another ethnic group for centuries because of a war or hurt that happened long ago? Why or why not?
A famous Christian prayer, taught by Jesus Himself, is called “The Lord’s Prayer”. The prayer is this:
Father, who is in heaven. Hallowed
(holy) be Your name.
Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts (sins) as we forgive our debtors (those who sin against us)
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (Matthew 6:9-13)
The fourth line connects what we do -- with what God does for us in the area of forgiveness. Why is it so important to God that we forgive people who sin against or hurt us?