*NOTE: The new Discipleship Pathway layout flipped Modules 2 & 5;
Module 5 is now Guidance and Module 2 is now Confession. If you were using the old version and starting Module 5, complete the below module on Confession in its place, and then continue on with Module 6.
DISCUSS “Holy Confrontation” using the questions below.
1. “Lying to ourselves is more deeply ingrained than lying to others.” How have you found this to be true?
2. The essay refers to David’s sin with Bathsheba (and the other sins surrounding it) as a “sin spiral.” What might a “sin spiral” mean? Have you ever observed sin spiraling out of control before? Why do you suppose this tendency is there?
3. “Sin often begins when we convince ourselves that the rules don’t apply to us.” What are some common scenarios where we start to believe that the rules don’t apply to us?
4. What does it mean to say that this story is like “looking at a mirror by looking at a mirror?”
5. What is “holy confrontation?” How is it a gift?
6. Have you ever had a moment of “holy confrontation” where someone called you out on something? What was your reaction?
7. Who is your “Nathan?” How might you build opportunities for holy confrontation into your Life? Review the practices you experimented with this week. What did you do?
What surprised you the most about these practices?
ASSIGNMENT: Read the Forgiveness essay, and watch the Forgiveness Incarnated video by The Bible Society of Egypt in preparation for your next meeting.
Forgiveness Incarnate video, by The Bible Society of Egypt
By Megan Koch
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” — Lewis Smedes
Forgiveness isn’t just about saying we’re sorry and forgiving someone certainly doesn’t mean what they did doesn’t matter anymore. Forgiveness, at the heart, is about handing over a burden that’s too heavy for us to bear. We can’t hold it and live well, so we turn it over to Jesus instead. He can take it— he’s happy to take it. Burdens are heavy for us because we weren’t born to carry them. The good news is, Jesus was born to carry them. He’s already paid for them, so we can hand them over.
Forgiveness reminds us that we’re secure; God is in control. When we forgive, we choose to surrender our resentments. We give up anything we’re holding against someone and invite God to handle it from here without our interference. Essentially, we surrender our right to judge, and stop trying to do God’s job for him. That’s when we get cut free, and that’s how we can move forward and heal. Forgiveness is about living untangled and untethered.
It’s important to remember that our freedom and healing are never dependent on what other people do or say. So, regardless of what the offending person does in response to our forgiveness, we can be free. In some cases, it might not even be best to tell a person we’ve forgiven them (in some situations, that could make things worse, not better). Or, perhaps that person is no longer living. That’s OK, because again, forgiveness is ultimately about cutting free from burdens with God’s help. He’ll guide you to know how to restore broken relationships. Many times, that will mean coming together to resolve differences, but sometimes it will mean keeping a safe distance.
It’s important to forgive “in every direction”. There are some core ways we might be holding on to grudges and burdens and praying through each one is helpful. Untangling ourselves from unforgiveness can seem overwhelming or complicated, so these steps help us see things in a new light. Here are some ways to unpack a burden and work through forgiveness:
1. If God shows us something we’ve done wrong, we need to ask him for forgiveness for our own sin and seek forgiveness from anyone we’ve sinned against as God leads us.
2. We need to forgive ourselves. Strangely, it can be “easier” to forgive others for what they’ve done, or to receive forgiveness from God for our own sin than it is to let ourselves off the hook. Have you ever done something you really, really regret? Forgive yourself for doing it. Let it go.
3. We need to forgive the things other people have done that have hurt us (whether it was intentional or not). Even if you’re sure they never intended to hurt you, they hurt you nonetheless. It’s a burden, so forgive it and let it go.
4. We need to forgive God. Yes, God. Most of us don’t realize this is even possible, because God is perfect, and doesn’t make mistakes or sin. But again, forgiveness isn’t only about forgiving a way someone has sinned against us. Forgiveness is necessary any time we’re holding a grudge against someone else— and yes, we can hold a grudge against God. If we’re mad that God allowed something happen, and hurt that he didn’t
intervene to stop it, we can surrender even that to him, and let him show us what we need to see so we can heal.
Finally, a note about confession. Have you ever confessed a recurring sin or an area of hurt to God again and again, but it just doesn’t get resolved? That’s probably because you’re confessing privately, but there’s so little risk in that, and very little accountability for real life. When we confess to God, but we’re not being honest about
our struggles with trusted people in our life, we’re “confessing” but we’re still letting shame win. We want the issue resolved, but we also want to protect our image. This is why we’re encouraged to confess our sins to one another (James 5:16). Confession is appropriate any time we’re burdened by something we need to get off our chest, and
confessing to God in the presence of trusted brothers and sisters is a way we live well in this family. When you’re trusted with someone else’s confession, take that very seriously. Embrace that person and walk them through the steps of forgiveness they need to take to cut free. Active participation in reconciliation is a privilege and a joy for disciples, so steward that responsibility well.
Confession isn’t about guilt; it’s a gift. It’s a gift to resist shame and lay your burdens out in the open. That’s how we break free and heal. Pause now and ask God to bring one of your own burdens to the surface; a place where forgiveness needs to happen. Journal some notes and return to your next meeting ready for your discipler to walk you through the steps of forgiveness. Yes, you’re going to practice confession together. We often run from our pain and unresolved issues, and that is
understandable—but going there with Jesus changes everything. If God is bringing to mind an issue or wound that contains significant guilt, condemnation, or shame, know that he isn’t showing you this to humiliate or expose you; he’s revealing a place he wants to set you free.
Consider the following questions after you’ve watched the video, read the essay, and journaled some notes. You’ll discuss these questions during your next meeting.
1. Why do you think forgiveness is so powerful?
2. Does forgiveness mean that the offending party should get off scot-free? What is the
relationship between forgiveness and justice?
3. What significant lessons has this module taught you about forgiveness and confession?
4. Forgiveness is one of the most powerful tools we have against the enemy. How will you begin
to practice a lifestyle of confession, forgiveness, and reconciliation on a new level? How will this
lead you into more freedom and victory?