Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 8.15.11.
Series: Before I Die I Want To…
This Week: Heal the Hurts Between Us
Whom do you want to pay back for hurting you? Be honest. There’s someone out there who has done you wrong and you want them to get hit by a bus (some of you know this is true…). Not only do you want to see him or her get hit by a bus, but you want the bus to be going 60mph when it hits them. But, you don’t want them to die immediately. First, you want to be hovering over them as they whisper to you in a final, agonizing breath: “I was wrong…”
Sound dramatic? Possibly, but again, be honest. Whenever we are hurt by someone else, especially someone we care deeply for, our minds can go to some pretty dark places. If we are hurt over and over again by the same person—without resolving the hurt—it’s only a matter of time before that hurt turns to anger, then resentment and finally hatred.
Once our hurts turn into hatred, it’s a slippery slope down towards revenge or vengeance. We are consumed with daydreams or visions about how we are going to get even or we secretly clap our hands with glee when we hear of a mishap or tragedy in their life.
What are our choices when we have conflict with another? We can forgive and let go of the offense OR we can spend our days replaying the wrongdoing over and over again in our minds and fanaticizing about how we can get even. Even worse, some of you have done awful things in efforts to take revenge or get even. Question: which decision will always backfire on us?
We all know we should choose forgiveness, but we don’t. Or we won’t. Why? Is it because if we forgive we think that the other person is getting away with the pain he or she has caused? Maybe we think that forgiveness wipes away any chance at justice—because we want them to pay or at least be held accountable for the wrong doing. Lewis Smedes, author of the book, Forgive and Forget, is remembered for his 50 quotes on forgiveness. Here is one of them: “When you give up vengeance, make sure you are not giving up on justice. The line between the two is faint, unsteady, and fine…Vengeance is our own pleasure of seeing someone who hurt us getting it back and then some. Justice, on the other hand, is secure when someone pays a fair penalty for wronging another even if the injured person takes no pleasure in the transaction. Vengeance is personal satisfaction. Justice is moral accounting…Human forgiveness does not do away with human justice.”
Whether you have been wronged or you are the one who has hurt another, forgiveness is the only key that unlocks the door to healing the hurts that damage our interpersonal relationships. Until you make the decision to forgive—and let go—you will be trapped in the pain you desperately want to escape. Some of you don’t think forgiveness is possible because of what you’ve endured—it is possible, but you won’t know that until you forgive and experience the healing for yourself.
Definition of Forgiveness:
“You will know that forgiveness
has begun when you recall those
who hurt you and have the
power to wish them well.”
THIS WEEK’S STUDY WILL FOCUS ON HOW FORGIVENESS IS THE KEY TO HEALING OUR DIFFICULT RELATIONSHIPS.
MONDAY — Forgiveness is Hard When…
Big Point: Forgiveness is hard. Don’t pretend it isn’t.
When Jennifer and her family moved into their home, her next door neighbor, Amy, was there to welcome her. They quickly became best friends. Their children were close in age and enjoyed playing together. Jennifer and Amy baked Christmas cookies together, went to Bible study together, did life together. Then one day Amy’s husband said some things about Jennifer and her family that brought a wedge between both families. The kids no longer play together. Jennifer and Amy no longer talk on the phone. Jennifer feels like she’s lost her best friend. Whenever Jennifer sees her former best friend in public it’s extremely awkward. Neither Jennifer or Amy seem to know what to say to each other. Jennifer doesn’t expect Amy to betray her husband, but his hurtful words can never be taken back. Forgiveness is hard when you feel like you’ve been hurt and the one who hurt you takes no responsibility for his or her actions.
Where did Jesus get “70×7”?
Cain killed Abel, God protected Cain’s life. Why? Someone would have likely tried to take revenge on him. Generations later, Cain’s descendent, Lamech, would say the following: “I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for injuring me. If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy- times.” Lamech’s words gave birth to the dangerous, illfated concept of vengeance.
READ…What does the Bible say?
Matthew 18:21-22 (New Living Translation)
21Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” 22 “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!
Matthew 18: 23-30 (New Living Translation)
23 “Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. 24 In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. 25 He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt. 26 “But the man fell down before his master and begged him, ‘Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all.’ 27 Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt. 28 “But when the man left the king, he went to a fellow servant who owed him a few thousand dollars. He grabbed him by the throat and demanded instant payment. 29 “His fellow servant fell down before him and begged for a little more time. ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it,’ he pleaded. 30 But his creditor wouldn’t wait. He had the man arrested and put in prison until the debt could be paid in full.
THINK…Find the answers
According to Peter in Matthew 18:21, how many times should be enough to forgive someone? What does 70 x 7 really mean?
Read Matthew 18:24. In the story of the debtor who was forgiven but did not forgive, how much did the debtor owe to his master? What happened to the debtor?
How much did the fellow servant owe the debtor?
How did the debtor respond to his fellow servant’s pleading (Matthew 18:30)?
LIVE…What will you do now?
Most of us are experiencing a hurt and we need to deal with it…but we really don’t want to. If forgiveness is a process, we have to start by acknowledging the wrongdoing (but we can’t stop there!)
How have I been hurt by someone close to me? What did he or she do?
PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
Chances are today’s questions churned up some intense emotions. However, if you are willing to dedicate this week to moving to forgiveness, then you can look forward to the day when the painful memory will be less painful. Take time today to identify those people in your life that you need to forgive. Then, pause and ask God to identify those people you may have forgotten.
DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Ruth 1-4
Ruth 1: The story of Ruth takes place sometime during the period of the Judges. These were dark days for Israel when, ”everyone did what seemed right in their own eyes.” Moab was the land east of the Dead Sea. It was one of the nations that oppressed Israel during the time of the judges.
Ruth 2: Because Israel’s climate is quite moderate, there are two harvests, one in the spring and one in the fall. According to Levitical law the harvesters were to leave the corners of the fields unharvested, and they weren’t to pick up whatever was dropped. The purpose for this law was to provide for the poor and to keep people from hoarding. This is the work Ruth found to do. It is called “gleaning”.
Ruth 3: As widows, Ruth and Naomi could only look forward to difficult times. But when Naomi heard about Boaz, her hope for the future was renewed. Boaz was a kinsman redeemer, someone who had the power to change the circumstances of their lives. The threshing floor was the place where the grain was separated from the harvested wheat. Boaz spent the night there to prevent theft. Naomi’s advice to Ruth may seem strange, but it was common for a servant to lie at the feet of their master and even share his covering.
Ruth 4: Apparently Naomi’s husband had property in the town that was now for sale. The relative said he would take it, until Boaz mentioned it was a package deal, and that included Ruth. The relative declined, opening the way for Boaz to redeem both Ruth and Naomi. God brought great blessings out of Naomi’s tragedy. She and Ruth didn’t know how God was working in their lives, but when you read the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1:3-6 you see that Ruth was the ancestor of David the king, who was the ancestor of Jesus Christ.