When we’ve hurt others, the only right thing to do is seek forgiveness, for ourselves and for our actions.
The Movie Clip:
is the final movie in the Spiderman franchise starring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. But in this film, Peter Parker/Spiderman has to battle more bad guys than ever, plus navigate the troubled waters in his relationship with Mary Jane. He’ll not only battle his past demons associated with the death of his Uncle Ben, but he’ll also battle against his best friend who becomes the New Goblin, and Flint Marko, who is The Sandman. This is an action-packed ride through New York City, as Spiderman tries to learn that “with great power comes great responsibility.”
Introduce the Clip:
I want to show you an extended scene from
Spiderman 3. In this clip, we’re going to see Peter Parker KNOWINGLY make a huge mistake. He’s going to really hurt someone he cares about deeply. Then he’s going to come face to face with the pain he’s caused. Unfortunately, we go on to find out that he doesn’t know how to deal with the destruction he’s responsible for creating. Then, his wise old Aunt May shows up and shares some more counsel with him. Let’s listen in to see if we can glean some truth from this great movie.
Begin Clip at 1 hour 35 minutes 47 seconds (in Chapter 38)
(This clip is too long for the total dialogue, but here is a breakdown of the action sequences and key dialogue.)
The clip opens with Peter escorting Gwen into a jazz club that Mary Jane works in. His entire motive is to show off his new girl (Gwen) to his old girl (MJ). Peter interrupts MJ’s song, and dances with Gwen right in front of MJ. Of course, this whole fiasco escalates into a brawl in the club with Peter accidentally hitting MJ. Now, he’s hurt her emotionally and physically.
Then the scene changes to a gothic church across the street.
Inside, Edward Brock is making a strange prayer request. Peter Parker has stolen his girl and is a threat to him at work as a photographer. He’s got plenty of reason to hate Peter. So, he’s come to the church to ask God to kill Peter Parker. Little does he know that above him in the bell tower, Peter Parker is trying to rid himself of the symbiote (black suit) that has caused him to be driven by revenge and selfishness. When the scene ends, Peter has finally freed himself of the symbiote, but Edward Brock has embraced the power it offers him.
Finally, the scene changes once again. We’re now at Peter Parker’s rundown apartment. His Aunt May has come by for a visit. The last time she saw Peter, he was about to propose to MJ, so she gave him her old wedding ring. She wants an update. It couldn’t be at a worse time for Peter, or could it?
Peter reminds her of some words she shared with him during their last visit, some good advice. He couldn’t live up to it, and he knows it.
Peter Parker: I hurt her, Aunt May. I don’t know what to do.
End clip at 1 hour 47 minutes and 12 seconds.
Aunt May: You start by doing the hardest thing: you forgive yourself. I believe in you Peter, you’re a good person. And I know you will find a way to put it right.
Wow! Part of you feels a little sorry for Peter, and part of you just thinks he’s a jerk! But, if we take just a second to consider this story a little deeper, we realize that we’ve all done something like this. We’ve hurt others, we’ve mistreated them. We’ve acted sinfully. We all do that, but the key is what we do in the aftermath of all the trouble we cause. Do we continue to rebel and hurt others, or do we seek forgiveness for our actions? Seeking forgiveness is never easy, but in the end, it’s the only right path to take.
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRCLE: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and our favorite super hero.
- ASK A FEW: What would you think of Peter if you were Mary Jane or Gwen?
- ASK A FEW: How do you think Peter felt after Mary Jane and Gwen confronted him?
- ASK A FEW: Aunt May said that seeking forgiveness is the hardest thing to do. Do you agree? Why or why not?
- ASK A FEW: Will somebody tell me what Peter should do/say to actually get forgiveness?
- ASK A FEW: In real life, do most people seek forgiveness for themselves and their actions or not? Why is that?
- ASK A FEW: What usually happens to people who seek forgiveness?
- ASK A FEW: What usually happens to people who do NOT seek forgiveness?
Read the following passage:
ASK A FEW: What were some of the things this young man did that was knowingly wrong?
ASK A FEW: What did the young man say he had sinned against in verse 18? Is that significant, and if so, how?
ASK A FEW: What do you think would have happened to him if he had never asked for forgiveness?
ASK A FEW: What made his request for forgiveness sound authentic? (Leaders – He was humble and he made no assumptions. He was willing to be a servant.)
ASK A FEW: If you were the father in the story, would you have forgiven the son? Why or why not?
ASK A FEW: Is there someone in your life that you need to get forgiveness from?
ASK A FEW: Very specifically, what is your plan for seeking forgiveness?
AROUND THE CIRCLE: Will you seek the forgiveness of someone you’ve wronged at some point during the coming week?
Luke 15:11-24 (NIV)
Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them. 13 "Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. 17 "When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' 20 So he got up and went to his father. "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. 21 "The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' 22 "But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.
So tonight, we watched an extended clip from Spiderman 3 and saw the troubles that Peter Parker got himself into. Not only did he hurt his girlfriend, he even hurt the girl he was trying to impress. In the end, his Aunt May told him that he had to do the hard thing and ask for forgiveness.
Then we read the story about Jesus’ parable involving a man and his wayward son. The boy had deeply sinned against his dad, and when he finally came to his senses, he went back to his father and humbly asked to be forgiven. Of course, because of his great love, the father forgave his son, just like God forgives us.
But what about you? Do you need to seek the forgiveness of someone this week? Have you said a hurtful word? Have you done something that you regret? Have you pushed God away because of your sin? If you’ve done any of this, you need to seek forgiveness for your actions and for yourself.
This is a little easier said than done, especially if you’re seeking forgiveness from someone else. They may not forgive you. They might even say they will, but won’t. But you will not know until you ask. And the only thing you’re on the hook for is to humbly admit your wrongdoing and ask to be forgiven.
I know that some of us have caused some serious hurt at various points in our past. If you need a little extra prayer or help in seeking forgiveness, then hang around after we’re done praying. We’d LOVE to talk with you.
Close in Prayer
Written by David R Smith