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Hope, Help and Healing: Week 5

Day 1
Forgiveness: A choice and a process

In the Bible

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:21–22

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14–15

1. When a person repeatedly does or says something harmful to you, how many times does Jesus say to forgive that person?

(Please understand this is not an exact number, but is representative of forgiving again and again, no matter how many times the situation occurs.)

2. If you choose not to forgive someone, how will that decision affect you?

In your life

1. What specifically are you refusing to forgive your former spouse for?*

2. Explain why this is true: “Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling.”

* If you are struggling with forgiveness, consider visiting a DivorceCare group where you will have the opportunity to learn about God’s forgiveness and to discuss questions and concerns you have about the difficulty of forgiveness.

Day 2
Christ forgives you

In the Bible

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:31–32

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:12–13

1. According to the verse in Ephesians, what will your life look like if you do not forgive?

2. According to both verses above, why should you forgive someone who has hurt you or hurt your family?

Remember, forgiveness does not mean trust; it does not mean accepting, approving of or ignoring a wrong that has been done. Forgiveness is a choice for your own life, to live God’s way from the inside out.

In your life

1. What effect has unforgiveness been having on your life?

2. Describe God’s forgiveness for you.*

* If you have not experienced God’s forgiveness, read The Foundation for Healing to discover the freedom available through Christ.

Day 3
God’s forgiveness is complete

In the Bible

I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. Isaiah 43:25

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

1. How thorough is God’s forgiveness?

2. What do you have to do to receive God’s forgiveness?

3. Do you deserve God’s forgiveness? Why or why not?

In your life

1. Why should you forgive your former spouse?

2. What is the hardest part about forgiving?

3. In what ways have you accepted responsibility for your mistakes and demonstrated forgiveness?

Day 4
Not dwelling on the past

In the Bible

Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13–14

1. What words would you use to describe the author’s (Paul’s) movement into his future?

2. Who, according to the above verse, should be directing your life?

3. Where should you be directing your focus each day?

In your life

1. When you spend time thinking about things that have happened in the past, would you say your thoughts are healthy for you or not? Why or why not?

2. What can you do to discover God’s purpose for your life?

Day 5
What is reconciliation?

In the Bible

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:17–19

1. Reconcile means to restore friendship or harmony. Whom did God reconcile to Himself?

2. Separation and divorce can result in a lot of “baggage” in a person’s life. According to the verse above, what hope is there for the future of a person who commits his or her life to Christ?

3. In the verse above, what is God asking you to commit to?

In your life

1. What efforts have you made toward reconciliation with your former spouse (remember, reconciliation does not necessarily mean remarriage)? How were those efforts received?

2. You may have other strained or broken relationships as a result of the separation or divorce. Name any other people you may need to reconcile with.

3. Reconciliation with God is of the utmost importance. If your attempts at reconciling with your former spouse or with other people have been rejected, are you willing to remain committed to growing your relationship with God? Write a prayer here declaring your commitment to God.

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