December 13, 2015
Priceless: Finding Your Value in God
SESSION 2: Freed By God’s Forgiveness
The Point: We deserve punishment, but God forgives.
Leader Extra: Get Into the Study
Use the following illustration and discussion questions as an optional opening to the Bible study.
Ernest Hemingway opens his short story “Capitol of the World” by introducing the main character, Paco. To illustrate the ordinariness of the character and this particular name, the author relays a joke common in Madrid:
“Madrid is full of boys named Paco, which is the diminutive of the name Francisco, and there is a Madrid joke about a father who came to Madrid and inserted an advertisement in the personal columns of El Liberal which said: PACO MEET ME AT HOTEL MONTANA NOON TUESDAY ALL IS FORGIVEN PAPA and how a squadron of Guardia Civil had to be called out to disperse the eight hundred young men who answered the advertisement.”
- What is telling and/or stirring about 800 men needing forgiveness from their fathers? In this case, does fiction depict a deeper reality? How?
- How would you inwardly respond were this message directed to you?
- The father could have just announced his forgiveness. Why was meeting his son at the hotel an important part of his decision to forgive?
- Have you ever doubted you are utterly forgiven by God? Where does the doubt come from?
Information for this post was gleaned from: http://pdbooks.ca/books/english/hemingway-ernest/short-stories/part-one/the-capital-of-the-world.html
Emily Jennings wrote thia Leader Extra. Emily is wife to Brian and Mommy to her three sweet boys. She loves serving at FBC Woodstock where her husband is Middle School Pastor. Find her on Twitter @emilyejennings.
Leader Extra: Live It Out
We all know what happened to the people of Paris on Friday night, November 13. The events of that night were a tragedy beyond understanding, and the world has spent the last few weeks trying to heal. But the harder job has been for the families of the individuals who were killed that night—mothers and fathers, wives and husbands, sisters, brothers, children, and friends of those murdered in a senseless act of violence.
Some have responded with their own hate, and others, rightfully, have responded with grief and anger. Right now, forgiveness may seem impossible. But as we process the events of that night, let’s not forget that God forgave each of us while we were still sinners. He even forgave the ones who murdered his only son.
In moments like this, the world is watching Christians to see how far their forgiveness can truly go.
- What emotions did you experience when you learned of the attacks?
- Has there been a time when God has changed your heart and allowed you to forgive someone you didn’t think you could forgive?
- How can we move toward forgiveness in light of something so tragic?
— Ashley Emmert wrote this Leader Extra. She is a freelance writer and editor who lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her sweet Southern husband and their small scrappy dogs. Find her at ashleygraceemmert.com or on Twitter @ashgemmert.
What were your least favorite punishments as a child?
What were your best methods for getting out of trouble as a child?
Stones can be used for building as well as for destruction. Why do people often use what Scripture knowledge they possess to condemn instead of to build up?
Why are we often tempted to emphasize certain sins and ignore others?
What makes it easier to identify a problem in your workplace than it does to offer a solution? What makes it easier to “cast a stone” at another person than to restore that person as a follower of Christ?
Why do we recoil at ‘large’ sins (adultery, murder, etc.) and yet stumble over ‘small’ sins (lying, gossip, envy, jealousy, unforgiveness, etc.)?
Why do you think the oldest men left first?
How can we focus less on the sins of others, and more on our own?
How is grace demonstrated in this passage?
Why do some view grace as a license that encourages sin? How does scripture correct this misunderstanding?
How did Jesus demonstrate both the seriousness of the sin and the depth of His love for the sinner?
Share the following with your group members as either a devotional before the group study or as a follow-up devotional: