Crossroads: Forgiving Others

Genesis 42:1-8; 45:3-15

My Story

When I was a teenager, my youth group planned a summer mission trip to Myrtle Beach. One of my best friends, John, was in our youth group, and we were both excited about the upcoming mission trip. John and I had roomed together on every church trip. We were great friends and enjoyed spending time together. As I arrived at the church to leave for the mission trip, I learned that John had decided to room with someone else this time even though we had been talking about rooming together for weeks. I was crushed. How could John do this to me?

A few days into the trip, John came up to me and apologized. I was still hurt and angry. To be honest, I didn’t feel like forgiving him. But John felt badly about how he had hurt me. Though it took a while, I finally decided to forgive my friend. Forgiving John was difficult to do, but I learned that forgiving him actually made me feel better.

Your Story

• Tell about a time when you decided to forgive another person. How did you feel before you forgave him/her? How did you feel after you forgave?
• What were the consequences of your forgiveness?
• How did forgiving another person affect your relationship with her/him?

The Bible Story

Joseph’s brothers had been very mean to him. He was one of the youngest children in the family, so Joseph’s older brothers sometimes picked on him. One day they actually tied him up, threw him in the back of a stranger’s wagon, and Joseph ended up in a strange place in another country. He was all alone and did not know how to get back home. In this far-away country, the authorities put Joseph in prison. He felt sad, lonely, and very angry with his brothers.

But Joseph eventually got out of prison and became a very powerful leader in this new country. His brothers, however, were having a very tough time back home. They had run out of food and couldn’t find anything to eat, so the brothers decided to go to another country to find food. They didn’t know it, but the brothers went to the country where Joseph, their younger brother, was now a leader. When the brothers appeared before the leader of the new country to ask for food, they were actually talking to their brother Joseph. They didn’t recognize Joseph, but he recognized them.

Joseph had a tough decision to make—should he remain angry with his brothers and treat them meanly like they had treated him, or should he forgive them?

Joseph ultimately decided to forgive his brothers. They were restored as a family, and Joseph gave them the food they needed. Instead of being angry or trying to get even with his brothers, Joseph forgave them even though they had been mean to him.

Discussion Questions

• Why is it hard to forgive someone who has hurt you?
• What happens if we decide not to forgive others?
• Is there someone you need to forgive? How can you forgive her/him?

Prayer

• Thank God for forgiving us when we hurt other people or hurt God.
• Ask God to help us forgive those who have hurt us just as God forgives us.

Action

Who do you need to forgive? What can you do this week to offer forgiveness to this person? Make a conscious effort this week to forgive someone who has hurt you in the past.

Jessica Asbell is currently serving as the Minister to Children at First Baptist Church of Roswell, GA. She has worked with children in various capacities at several churches, including Winter Park Baptist in Wilmington, NC, First Baptist of Decatur, GA, and Highland Hills Baptist in Macon, GA. She has a Master of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology and a BBA from Mercer University. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, and of course spend time with her sweet kitty, Lucy.

Kevin Head began serving as Minister to Young Families at First Baptist Roswell, Georgia, in February 2012. He has pastored three churches in Kentucky and more recently served as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Lumberton, North Carolina. In 2007, Kevin and his wife, Amy, began a ministry-based counseling practice called New Perspectives for Life in East Cobb, Georgia. He is a graduate of Furman University (B.A.) and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Ph.D., M.Div.) in Louisville, Kentucky. Kevin was ordained by the First Baptist Church of Belvedere, South Carolina. His model of ministry is based on John 8 and the amazing, continual grace of Jesus Christ. Kevin and Amy have two children, Jenna and Joshua.

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