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OPINION

BIBLE STUDY: Sunday, May 20, 2012

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) -- This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curriculum and additional resources for all age groups.
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This week's Bible study is adapted from the YOU! curriculum.

Bible Passages: Matthew 18:23-30,32-33,35

Discussion Question: How would your life be different if God chose to respond to your requests for forgiveness the way you choose to forgive others?

Food for Thought:

Stacey Owens, a freelance writer from Hendersonville, Tenn., writes:

"When my mom taught school (more than 20 years ago), she counseled many young people through disagreements with their friends in addition to teaching them English and social studies. She recounted the story of two friends who had a shouting match over something, probably a boy. One of the friends was mad. Seriously mad. Ultimately, their friendship deteriorated, and the two didn't speak to one another for years. And forgive each other? No way! Though my mother met with each of them individually, neither would budge, so she went about the business of teaching in hopes that the two would one day rebuild their friendship. Mom retired before she learned the outcome of their relationship but eventually learned that the two friends reunited and forgave one another despite having forgotten in those years what the fight had even been about in the first place. I find it amusing that they each held a grudge for years for a transgression they can no longer recall.

"Imagine if God forgave us in the same manner. What if He held a grudge and then took years to think about our transgressions before deciding to forgive us? What if you prayed for forgiveness that didn't come for two decades?

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"How freeing it is to know that we can ask for forgiveness and have it granted to us immediately. The next time someone asks for your forgiveness, respond to that person as Christ responds to you. Don't think about it; don't mull it over for months; just forgive. That's what He does."

Intentionally focused on urban and multicultural believers, the YOU! curriculum is biblically based with culturally relevant lessons to help people connect, grow, serve and ultimately be engaged in impacting the world for God. This flexible quarterly resource offers weekly Bible study for leaders and learners, devotionals and teaching plans as well as articles on hot topics and missions. For more information, visit LifeWay.com/YOU.

Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool.

Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net

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