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Paying the Price

Debts are never truly forgiven, they are always paid. A person with a debt is expected to repay that debt to the lender. If that lender “forgives” the debt, the debtor is only free because the lender has paid a price. Forgiveness always comes with a price tag. Join us for part two of Prodigals where we will explore the cost of forgiveness. 


Luke 15:11-32


Forgiveness is ____________ to the person __________________ it.  


________  ________ and welcome __________  ______ ____.

Daily Readings

This week, as you read examples of those who were willing to pay a high price to extends God’s mercy to others, invite the Holy Spirit to show you how you can follow these examples.  

  • Day 1: Exodus 5 
  • Day 2: Exodus 6 
  • Day 3: Luke 15 
  • Day 4: 2 Corinthians 10 
  • Day 5: 2 Corinthians 11 
  • Day 6: 2 Corinthians 12 
  • Day 7: Philemon  

Suggested Resources

Prodigal God by Timothy Keller

The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey

What’s So Amazing About Grace By Philip Yancey

Check out these and other suggested books at

Think Deeper

  1. When was the last time you had to forgive someone? What did it cost you? 
  2. When was the last time you received forgiveness? Who paid the price? 

Small Group Questions

Use this outline for personal reflection, as a couples or family devotion, or with a small group.

HANGOUT (warming up to the topic)

If a friend borrowed your car and brought it back to you without gas, who paid for the gas? Would you say anything to your friend? Why or why not? If you owed a bank $1,000 and that bank forgave your debt, who paid the $1,000?  If your boss said something unfair about you to your co-workers and you forgave him, did that forgiveness come at a price? If so, what was it and who paid it?  

HEAR (listening to God through Scripture)

The book of Philemon is one of the shortest books in the New Testament. It is a personal letter written by the apostle Paul asking Philemon to pay the price of forgiving a runaway slave. 

Read Philemon 1:1-7    

  • What does Paul’s introduction tell us about his circumstance? 
  • Based on these verses, what do you know about Philemon? 
  • What has provided Paul with “much joy and comfort”? 

Read Philemon 1:8-16    

  • Why does Paul prefer to appeal to Philemon rather than command him? What is the risk of making an appeal? What is the benefit? 
  • What can we infer happened to Onesimus after he met Paul? What evidence do you see to support that belief?
  • Read Galatians 3:28 & 4:4-8. Is Paul’s message to Philemon consistent with what he said to the Galatians? Why or why not?

Read Philemon 1:17-25    

  • What, specifically, was Paul asking of Philemon? Who was going to pay the price for Onesimus’s freedom? What did Philemon owe Paul? How was Paul leveraging that debt? 
  • We do not know how Philemon responded to Paul’s request, but if he rejected it, what would that say about Philemon? 
  • Read Colossians 2:13-15. What happened to the record of our debts? Who paid the price? 
  • If our debts were paid on the cross, what does that mean for the debts we are owed?  
  • Could Jesus say to you what Paul said to Philemon? Read Matthew 6:12-15. Is there someone you are unwilling to forgive? 

HUDDLE (making it personal and praying together – in huddles)

Are you harboring any bitterness or unforgiveness in your heart? If so, for whom and why? What would it take for you to forgive that person? Talk about it, invite accountability, and take time to pray.