Forgive Us Our Debts, as We Have Forgiven Our Debtors
Share where you first remember praying The Lord’s Prayer and whether you learned it as trespasses, debts or sins.
The sermon this week focused on Matthew 6:12: And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
• What stood out to you in the sermon? What insights did you gain? What questions did it raise?
In our scripture for today, it uses the words debts and debtors. As Methodists, when we pray The Lord’s Prayer in worship, we typically use the word trespasses. More recent versions of The Lord’s Prayer often use the word sins.
• How do each of these words add a different element to our understanding of confession?
In Matthew 18:15-17, Jesus gives us instructions about how to respond when our brothers and sisters in Christ sin. He says to start by going and pointing out their fault just between the two of you. If they don’t listen, take along one or two others, to address the sin. If they still refuse, tell it to the church. Then if they still refuse to listen, treat them like a pagan or a tax collector.
• This teaching from Jesus makes many people uncomfortable. Why?
• What are the risks of talking with someone about their sin? What are the risks of not talking to them?
• Why is it tempting to talk about others and their sin rather than talking with others about their sin?
• When Peter questions Jesus about how many times we should forgive those who sin against us, Jesus answers, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
• What do you think Jesus was saying to Peter?
We all have forgiven others for countless things large and small, but we also have some people and some things we struggle to forgive.
• Why is it sometimes easy to forgive? Why is it sometimes so hard?
• Spencer compared the relationship between us being forgiven and us forgiving others to the inhaling and exhaling of breathing. How is this way of thinking about forgiveness helpful for you?
On the cross, Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”
• What do you think made it possible for Jesus to pray this prayer?
• How does Jesus’ prayer inspire you?
Jesus told a parable about two people who owed money to a moneylender. One owed ten times more than the other, yet the moneylender forgave both debts. Jesus then asks, “Which of them will love him more?”
• How does being aware of how much we’ve been forgiven by God change us?
• How does it impact how we offer forgiveness to others?
• How is it different to ask God simply to “forgive all my sins” as compared to asking God to forgive specific sins I know I’ve committed?
• Why is it so hard for many of us to admit and name our sins?
• How is it important to name our specific sins to God?
• How can it be helpful to ask God to show us sins we may not easily recognize? How is that challenging?
• What are the benefits of confessing our sins daily? What are the benefits of forgiving others daily?
• What has the sermon and this discussion taught you about prayer?
Share one concern you would like others to pray for you about or pray with you about.
Prayer of Confession
Each of us offer our own silent prayer of confession to
God in rhythm with our breathing. As you breathe out, confess a sin to God; as you breathe in, receive God’s forgiveness. After confessing your own sins and receiving God’s forgiveness, then name others you need to forgive. As you breathe out, share their name and your hurt to God; as you breathe in receive God’s grace to truly forgive them and to heal your hurt.