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Key Thought:

Experiencing God’s grace allows us to let go of bitterness and forgive others.

Key Quote

We’ll never have to forgive more than we’ve been forgiven.” Nate Dooley

Start talking. Find a conversation starter for your group.
  • Do you know anyone who loves some sort of bitter food or drink? What food/drink do they love?
  • What’s the most bitter thing you’ve ever tasted?
  • Name a character from a favorite movie or TV show who is really bitter. How does that character’s bitterness affect the rest of the cast?
  • Go around the room and see who can make the funniest ‘bitter face’.

Start thinking. Ask a thoughtful question.
  • What is it about human bitterness that is so unattractive?
  • Why is holding on to grudges and bitterness so toxic for our lives?
  • Why do you think Stephen had a forgiving attitude instead of a vengeful attitude when the people were stoning him to death?
  • What happens when we only treat the symptoms of a relational problem instead of fixing the cause?

Start sharing. Choose questions that create openness.
  • Where are you struggling with bitterness? What caused it?
  • How does being around bitter people affect you? How has bitterness affected your day-to-day life?
  • What would freedom from bitterness look like in your life?
  • Is there someone that you need to seek their forgiveness for the hurt you have inflicted on them? Go to them (Matthew 18:15) and make it right; seek resolution.

Start praying. Be bold, and pray with power.

Dear Jesus, thank you for modeling forgiveness to us even when we don’t deserve it. We want to be able to release bitterness and forgive others, but we need your help to release it. Work in us, identify the source, and help us to release bitterness so that we can fully embrace who you’ve called us to be. In your name we pray, Amen.

Start doing. Commit to a step and live it out this week.
  • Share an area of personal bitterness with the group that you can’t seem to let go of, then as a group talk through how to let it go – hold each other accountable.
  • Every time you have thoughts of bitterness or revenge, stop and pray, releasing it to God. If you struggle with bitterness, commit to making this a daily routine.
  • Go to a person whom you need to forgive and share your forgiveness with them. If the person/people are no longer alive, go to God through prayer and forgive them.
  • Every morning speak out loud a source of bitterness, then ask God to empower you to let it go – do it every day until God has given you freedom from it. The goal is to NOT hold on tightly (closed fists) but open the palm of your hands and be free; hold on loosely!


All bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting, and slander must be removed from you, along with malice. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ. Ephesians 4:31-32

And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. Ephesians 4:26-27

Then they put their hands over their ears and began shouting. They rushed at him and dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!” Acts 7:57-58, 60

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34

May it not be held against them… 2 Timothy 4:14

Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32

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