Dr. E. Dale Locke with Marie Roberts Monville
Series: Letting Go, the Art of Forgiveness, Week 5
Review from previous sermons:
“Forgiveness is the one thing we can do that successfully unchains us from our past, invites God’s peace into our present, and gives God the space to shape our future into His glorious purpose.”
Dr. E. Dale Locke
True forgiveness involves 7 Steps broken into 3 Movements.
Movement 1: Preparing to Forgive
Step 1: Face the Facts
Step 2: Feel the Hurt
Step 3: Confront our Hate
Movement 2: The Heart of Forgiveness
Step 1: Bear the Pain
Step 2: Release the Offender to God
Movement 3: Moving On
Step 1: Accept Responsibility for my future
Step 2: Long for Things to be Made Right
Read Ephesians 4:32-5:2:
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
- How does this Scripture passage connect with the story that Marie Roberts Monville shared?
- Many years earlier, Charlie and Marie Roberts had the painful experience of losing their baby daughter. Marie chose to deal with that pain by talking about it with God and with other believers, getting her feelings and hurts out on the table, where she could work through them in community. But Charlie chose to wall himself off from others and not talk about it. He refused to be part of any group or to open up about his pain. Describe how these two different ways of dealing the same difficult life experience led to two drastically different outcomes.
- Have you ever had a difficult life experience that put you at a similar crossroads? How did you deal with it?
- When Charlie called Marie from the schoolhouse and she sensed he was about to do something terrible, she tried to convince him, “Don’t do it! There is always another way.” What causes people to get into in a mindset that some horrible, desperate act is the only way to deal with a bad situation? How can we guard against getting into that place?
- After Marie learned that Charlie had murdered those precious little girls and then killed himself, she cried out to the Lord to “fix” the situation. But instead, she sensed God say, “I’m not going to fix it. I’m going to redeem it.” Explain what that means.
- Tell about a painful situation in your own life that God didn’t “fix” the way you wanted, but He did redeem it.
- Tragic, painful circumstances become a crossroads, where you either choose to deny what you believe, or you choose to embrace it fully. Why do painful circumstances tend to drive us either in one direction or the other?
- What can we do to help ensure that we will respond to tragic circumstances with stronger faith, rather than with losing our faith?
- When the Amish people came to visit Marie’s family, she expected them to make demands on her or question her. But instead they wanted to assure her of their forgiveness and concern for her and her family. What effect did this have on Marie and on her future?
- The Amish people attended Charlie’s funeral and were even willing to lay aside their belief that they should not let themselves be filmed in order to form a circle around Marie and her family to support them and protect them from the paparazzis who were trying to film them. What underlying principles caused the Amish people to make that choice?
- Marie said that her own forgiveness of Charlie, as well as the Amish people’s forgiveness of Charlie, was not about Charlie. Rather it was about giving God an opportunity to work in their hearts. What did she mean by that?
- What thought from this interview was the most helpful and meaningful for you personally?