During the second half of the spring term, we explore the value of FORGIVENESS. During worship, assemblies and in class we learn together and share experiences about this most important value.
Without forgiveness, there's no future. Desmond Tutu
Key themes to explore:
• Saying sorry and being repentant
• Showing remorse and making amends
• Forgiving and forgetting
• Letting someone off - is that fair?
• Remaking a broken relationship/friendship • Barriers to forgiving another
• The cost of forgiveness
• Is there a limit to forgiveness?
• Forgiveness and justice
• The fruit of forgiveness
Key Bible verses
The experience of forgiveness is at the heart of the Christian gospel. It is a forgiveness won by Christ's work on the cross which Christians believe is where God's love and justice meet. The need for forgiveness is universal, because every one in some way shares in the guilt of messing up their own lives, the lives of others or the generous gift of this world to us by God. We need to feel pardoned and there is a longing to start again with a clean sheet. The experience of being forgiven through the mysterious work of the cross is the motivation to love and change that energises Christians to live differently and better. God promises the gift of his Holy Spirit to help them do just that.
Jesus says in the Lord's Prayer:
'Forgive us for doing wrong, as we forgive others' (Matthew 6:12, CEV).
The Jews celebrate a great day of forgiveness, the Day of Atonement, usually in September.
'You must celebrate this day each year- it is the Great Day of Forgiveness for all the sins of the people of Israel. Moses did exactly as the Lord had commanded' (Leviticus 16:34).
'On the tenth day of the seventh month, which is also the Great Day of Forgiveness, trumpets are to be blown everywhere in the land' (Leviticus 25:9).
David asks God to forgive him:
'After David had everyone counted, he felt guilty and told the Lord, "What I did was stupid
and terribly wrong. Lord, please forgive me"' (2 Samuel 24:10).
In Matthew 18 comes the question from Peter about how often we can go on forgiving, and Jesus tells a story to illustrate what he means:
'How many times should I forgive someone who does something wrong to me? Is seven times enough?' (Matthew 18:21).
Forgiving others is vital for our own spiritual life:
'Whenever you stand up to pray, you must forgive what others have done to you. Then your Father in heaven will forgive your sins' (Mark 11:25).
Jesus forgave the soldiers from the cross:
'Jesus said, "Father, forgive these people! They don't know what they're doing." While the crowd stood there watching Jesus, the soldiers gambled for his clothes' (Luke 23:34).
Words about forgiveness
There is no love without forgiveness, and there is no forgiveness without love. Bryant H McGill
Always forgive your enemies - nothing annoys them so much. Oscar Wilde
To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. Lewis B. Smedes
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. Mahatma Ghandi
Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit. Peter Ustinov
Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it. Mark Twain
Forgiveness is the oil of relationships. Josh McDowell
I can forgive, but I cannot forget, is only another way of saying, I will not forgive.
Forgiveness ought to be like a cancelled note - torn in two, and burned up, so that it
never can be shown against one. Henry Ward Beecher
Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future. Paul Boese
Let us forgive each other - only then will we live in peace. Leo Tolstoy