1. Check in (Leader)
2. Report Back on the first task TASK #1: Think of a time in your life when you felt forgiven, either by another person, or by God, and recall what that felt like. (Leader)
3. Why forgive? (Leader)
Essay: One of the biggest problems about forgiveness is that we feel, perhaps very strongly, that some people should not be forgiven. You hear people say: I can never forgive this person for that misdeed. But the Lord specifically teaches that we should forgive others. To do so, it might be useful to remember:
- A. Forgiveness does not mean approval.
- B. Forgiveness does not mean that we should let other people get away with evil.
- C. We are not told to forgive others because of what it would mean to them so much as what it would mean to us. We need to forgive if we are to experience being forgiven.
- D. By forgiving other people we are not removing evil from them, but rather removing a spirit of condemnation from them so that they are in a better position to deal with God in relation to their sin.
- E. Since we all sin at one time or another, we need the practice of forgiving others so that we can open ourselves up to believing that God has forgiven us.
It is not unusual to see in the movies some selfish bigot behave in a disgusting way, ranting and raving about how other people behave. At that point we know that this bigot is using other’s people frailties as an excuse to indulge in the evil of condemning others, and we hope that later in the movie the bigot will wake up to that fact, and instead of demanding justice to punish the sins of others, pleads for mercy to deal with his or her own sins.
We have difficult things to bear in this life. By learning forgiveness, we experience a lifting of a great weight from our own shoulders, the weight of being judgmental and condemning.
4. Task #2: If you become conscious of the sin of som.eone else, take a moment to reflect on your own state of mind, and your own need for forgiveness.
5. Discussion (Leader)
6. Closing thoughts (Leader)