Good Idea: "Forgive"

Opening: This week we began a new series, “Good Idea" with an exploration of the role of 'rules' in Christianity. We began with a reminder that God’s guidelines for living, his ‘rules’ are meant for our flourishing, and not simply arbitrary rules for a made up game. 
We also were reminded that God’s ‘rules’ or ‘Good Ideas’ are a reflection of His natural laws that govern the universe. Like a STOP sign, when we break them we are at risk of the natural consequence of not heeding the ‘good idea’...and that’s ‘not a good idea.’ 
This was also a reminder that while God does not ‘punish’ his children (Romans 8:1, Psalms 119:75-76, Heb 12:3-13). He does discipline us. Most often in life God’s discipline is orchestrated through the consequences of his natural law (ie. When we run the Stop sign an accident is often the consequence). God uses consequences to disciple and discipline us.
With the series foundation set, we turn to the first ‘good idea’... forgiveness.

1.  Is Forgiving Overrated or Misunderstood? (Matthew 18:21-23)

Like Peter we have our own objections for whey we can’t forgive:

  • “They don’t deserve it.” The objection we make when we believe that forgiveness only benefits the offender. (Hint, it doesn’t)
  • “I don’t have to.” I’m not a Christian, the rules of this game don’t apply to me! (Hint, actually, they do… this isn’t a voluntary game of basketball, it’s a STOP sign meant to give you a full life. Forgiveness is a universal path to a full life.
  • “I don’t do denial.” Forgiving sounds like forgetting, and I am not going to get hurt again. (Hint, forgiving and trusting are different… you can forgive and set boundaries based on trust)
  • I can’t.” I don’t want to! (Hint, Forgiveness can be an act of rebellion against our emotions)

2.  Forgiving and the Full Life (Colossians 3:13, James 5:16)

  • When I forgive, I let go of the impossible standard of perfection (Col 3:13) 
  • When I ask for forgiveness, I find a forgiveness better than being right–the clean plate (James 5:16)   


These passages may provide additional insights related to the subject of this week’s message. All verses are NLT unless otherwise noted.

Psalms 92:12-14, Romans 8:1, Psalms 119:75-76, Hebrews 12:3-13


  1. We started the new series “Good Idea" with an exploration of the role of 'rules' in Christianity. (Psalms 92:12-14) Pastor Ben used the analogy of basketball (arbitrary game rules) and a STOP sign (traffic rules that keep us alive) to describe a key difference with God's laws. Had you considered this difference when it comes to the 'rules' of Christianity? Discuss the significance of this distinction. 
  2. The STOP sign was an illustration of God's laws that govern the universe (His “Good Idea”) and apply to everyone. This can be thought of as Common Grace (The grace that is available to everyone who follows that rule). What are some examples of this "Common Grace"  in action (ie. "Good idea" rules that help everyone everywhere when they follow them).
  3. This Sunday we discussed the difference between punishment and discipline. (Hint: God disciples or disciplines the believer, but because of God's grace in Jesus, He does not punish us - Romans 8:1, Psalms 119:75-76, Heb 12:3-13). How do you see the difference between punishment and discipline?
  4. God can send unique consequences into my life to discipline me, but most often God uses the natural consequences that govern our universe to discipline us (e.g. You run a stop sign and get into an accident). In your own life, have you seen God at work disciplining you through natural consequences? Alternatively, have you experienced moments where it seemed God sent special consequences to get your attention and disciple you?
  5. Of the four common reasons for not forgiving, which do you most often default to? 1) They don't deserve it, 2) I don't have to, 3) I'm done getting hurt, 4) I tried but I can't let it go.
  6. Share a moment of forgiveness (given or received) that was meaningful to you. Was it received well? Did it change your circumstances or relationship? How did it alter/grow your own relationship with God?
March 19, 2023
Good Idea: "Truth Be Told"

Everyone’s heard “that’s a good idea,” as well as “that’s not a good idea.” And we’ve all told ourselves “that’s not a good idea”…and then did it anyway. It turns out that the Bible is full of “good ideas” – not just a bunch of arbitrary rules, but a proven pathway to the Full Life. This week’s Good Idea is one we can all agree on: tell the truth. The Bible has a lot to say about that – probably because it’s sometimes so hard for us to do.

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March 5, 2023
Good Idea: "Unity"

“The Power of One” sounds like a great motivational slogan, right? People desire to be “the one” and feel important. But the Biblical definition – Jesus’ definition – of “the power of one” is a bit harder to live out. It’s the idea of unity – unity among those who trust and follow God – and Jesus talked about it a LOT. Because, as it turns out, it’s a really Good Idea…

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February 26, 2023
Good Idea: "Listen"

Good Ideas are rules to live by that are most often there for our own good, to lead us toward a full life. Sometimes we see those rules, or “stop signs,” as arbitrary and unfair, but most often they’re showing us God’s best plan for us. This week we look at another one: listening. The Bible has much to say about it – almost as if God is saying, “Listen! You need to listen well!”

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