Week 4 | Absolution
Take some time to discuss the previous week’s readings and/or Challenges. Here are some things to discuss:
- Celebrate a “win” that you had in Forgiving Challenge over the past week.
- Share a struggle.
- What did God reveal to you during the readings and/or Challenges this past week?
In your opinion, what is the most important meal of the day? Explain.
Do you tend to replay your worst moments over and over and over again? Yes or no. Explain.
The two common definitions of the word forgive are: 1) To cancel a debt. 2) To stop feeling angry or resentful toward someone for an offense, flaw, or mistake.
- Which of these is harder for you, and why?
- What is the significance of the charcoal fire in Chapter 89?
- Why do you think that Jesus would recreate Peter’s worst moment?
Describe what you feel like the emotions and feelings of Peter must have been like as he approached Jesus on the shore by the charcoal fire.
Read the conversation by the charcoal fire that Jesus had with Peter from John 21:15-17:
“15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ he said, ‘you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Feed my lambs.’
16 Again Jesus said, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He answered, ‘Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Take care of my sheep.’
17 The third time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?‘ Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, ‘Do you love me?‘ He said, ‘Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.’ Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep.'”
Say: The definition of absolution is the declaration that you have been forgiven. It is the announcement that your sins have been paid in full, that the debt has been cancelled. How does the amount of times that Jesus asked Peter “Do you love me?” declare to Peter that the consequence of his denials have been paid for?
Zach says on Day 21 of Forgiving Challenge: “Freedom is a painful process, and part of that process is entering into our pain to ultimately bring healing. He recreates the charcoal fire, not because He is a cruel God, but because He is a caring God.” Agree or disagree. Explain.
Peter was Jesus’s right-hand man. Jesus had chosen him, believed in him, and entrusted so much to him, but in Jesus’s darkest hour, Peter miserably failed Jesus. If God can forgive someone like Peter, do you believe God can forgive someone like you? Why or why not?
Say: Before we fully move forward, God’s forgiveness assures us that our past mistakes will not hold us back any longer. God doesn’t want us to relive our worst moments, but to relieve us from them.
Read: Colossians 2:13-14 (JB Phillips Translation) “He has forgiven you all your sins: Christ has utterly wiped out the damning evidence of broken laws and commandments which always hung over our heads, and has completely annulled it by nailing it over his own head on the cross.”
Challenge for the Week
Knowing that God has forgiven you, say these words of forgiveness over yourself every day this week:
Jesus forgives me. Jesus paid the price for all sins of all people for all time, including my past, present, and future sins. Jesus gives me a free gift called grace. I cannot earn it, and I never will deserve it. He just gives it to me. Because of this gift of grace, I choose to forgive myself. I choose to let go of my past sins that have kept me in bondage so that I can walk forward in freedom. I will not continue to pay a price that God does not ask me to pay. I will let the blood of Jesus cover my sins. I will let His declaration of forgiveness for the entire world include me in it. If God has forgiven me, then I forgive me too.
Spend time in prayer today thanking God that He is willing to enter into our worst moments with us to relieve us from them. As the small group leader, close the prayer by saying these powerful words of absolution: “You have been forgiven in the name of the Father, through the blood of Jesus, and by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
*For a deeper, daily experience to go alongside of the weekly small group experience, read days 20-26 of Forgiving Challenge: A 40-Day Journey Leading to Freedom.