Bible Studies for Life Lesson for August 14- Forgive One Another
August 2 2011 by Catherine Painter, author, speaker from Raleigh

Focal Passages: Colossians 3:12-13; Philemon 8-22  

At the fragile age of 13, Susie transferred to another school. There she found girls in her class intent upon keeping her outside their tightly knit circle. Among them, Mary seemed the most open to Susie’s friendship. One day after school, as the two walked home together, Sarah suddenly rushed from behind, pushed Susie and Mary apart and placed herself between them. She related only to Mary, making no eye contact or conversation with Susie.

Gradually, Sarah steered Mary and herself ahead, leaving Susie to walk alone behind them. Emotionally crushed, Susie related the incident to her mother. “You must forgive Sarah,” her mother suggested. “She hasn’t asked me to forgive her,” Susie answered.

“She won’t,” her mother said. “The injured always does the forgiving. Until you forgive Sarah, however, you have bound her to you — the very thing you don’t want. Once you forgive, you’ll both benefit: she’ll be released and you’ll be free, leaving the door open for future friendship.” The Greek word that Paul used for forgiveness in Colossians 1:13-14 means “to send away.” Paul wrote, God “has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Centuries ago, Paul intervened for Onesimus, a slave who ran away from Philemon, his owner. Writing to Philemon, Paul begged him to forgive Onesimus and take him back, “no longer a slave, but as a dearly beloved brother” (Philem. 16).

Jesus personified forgiveness though many offended Him: Jewish leaders plotted His death, Judas betrayed Him, Peter denied Him, and Pilate, although believing Him innocent, ordered His crucifixion. The mob screamed, ‘Crucify Him!’ and the soldiers drove the nails, but no one on record begged His forgiveness.

Instead, it was Jesus, the offended, who prayed, “Father, forgive them.”

In colonial America, John Wesley pled the case of an offending colonist before the British governor, James Oglethorpe. The governor quipped, “Wesley, I never forgive.”

Wesley responded, “Then I hope you never offend!”

Jesus said, “Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive your wrongdoing. But if you don’t forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your wrongdoing” (Mark 11:25-26). With that in mind, let us forgive those who offend us, and leave the Sarahs of the world to God.                                       
8/2/2011 3:35:00 AM by Catherine Painter, author, speaker from Raleigh | with 0 comments

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