Day 1 – Think.
If the biggest sinner you know isn’t you, then you don’t know yourself very well – Jean Larroux
Get out of denial. Don’t underestimate what you are capable of.
Psalm 51:5. For I was born a sinner— yes, from the moment my mother conceived me.
Genesis 4:7 Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you.
Life changing, character forming and freedom engendering repentance comes in two parts
- Full clean confession.
Psalm 51:4b I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just.
Repentance is not blame shifting or feeling sorry for yourself, nor is it minimising, complaining or relativising our actions. It is taking full responsibility for our wrongs without excuse. I have done evil in your sight! I did it. I am the cause. Real repentance begins when blame shifting and self pity ends.
- Deep heart renunciation
Psalm 51:4a – Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
When you come to see that your sin has dishonoured and grieved God you begin to hate the sin itself. Then it loses its power over you. You change.
Forgiveness brings freedom.
Freedom from the past – tied through guilt – no matter what you’ve done
Freedom in the present – actually able to change and not do the things you do wrong
Are you living in freedom from your past?
Have you been able to change? Are you living in freedom today?
Are you confident that God loves you?
Did Jesus do enough to allow you to be forgiven for your wrongs?
Is there anyone that you need to ‘restore fellowship’ with?
The greatest act of love is that Jesus stayed.
The Lord’s prayer so far
Access. Approaching God as Father.
Praise. Giving him the praise he deserves.
Submission. Inviting God’s kingdom of righteousness.
Petition. A request for God to provide in the present.
Petition. Pardon takes care of our past.
Day 2 – Meditation
Pray throughout today – ‘Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us’
What does God reveal to you through this prayer?
What other prayers or thoughts flow from this prayer?
Day 3 – Scriptural context
Parable of the Unforgiving Debtor
21 Then 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!
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.
31 “When some of the other servants saw this, they were very upset. They went to the king and told him everything that had happened. 32 Then the king called in the man he had forgiven and said, ‘You evil servant! I forgave you that tremendous debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant, just as I had mercy on you?’ 34 Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt.
35 “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.”
The King’s forgiveness came first. It’s in light of his great forgiveness that the servants unforgiving spirit is such a terrible thing.
Day 4 – Sermon on the mount
The Lord’s Prayer is set within the context of the Sermon on the Mount. How does this section of the sermon add to our understanding of this week’s part of the Lord’s prayer?
Teaching about Anger
21 “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ 22 But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone you are in danger of the fires of hell.
23 “So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you,24 leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God.
25 “When you are on the way to court with your adversary, settle your differences quickly. Otherwise, your accuser may hand you over to the judge, who will hand you over to an officer, and you will be thrown into prison. 26 And if that happens, you surely won’t be free again until you have paid the last penny.
Teaching about Revenge
38 “You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’39 But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. 40 If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. 41 If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. 42 Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.
Teaching about Love for Enemies
43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. 48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Do Not Judge Others
7 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. 2 For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.
3 “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? 4 How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.
6 “Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.
Day 5 – Application
God is the source of forgiveness. The blood of Christ is the ground of forgiveness. A repentant heart is always the condition of forgiveness. A forgiving Spirit is the evidence of forgiveness. The removal of sin and restoration of fellowship is the result of forgiveness.
Trespass/transgression – doing what we are told not to do.
Sin – failing to do what we have been commanded to do.
Guile – pretending to be something that we are not.
Forgiveness deals with our past, it takes care of our soul.
Forgiveness of ourselves and others is a powerful force in our lives, it is often where the rubber meets the road in a Christian’s life.
Which is more difficult for you – Asking God to forgive you or forgiving someone who has sinned against you?
Consider the significance of the ‘as’ in ‘Forgive us our sins, AS we forgive those you sin against us’.
What happens when a believer refuses to forgive?
Have I forgiven those closest to me who have hurt me deeply?