Theme 1: What does it really mean to forgive?
- examine the ways Jesus models forgiveness
- define forgiveness
- express the Christian call to forgiveness
- identify areas in their life where they are called to forgive
- name and appreciate the fruits of forgiveness
- “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy” (Matthew 5.7).
- To forgive another human being is to respect that person’s dignity, not to condone the evil action, and to let go of our desire for revenge.
- We are called to forgive people always and in everything. Our respect for the dignity of others and our desire for the good of others must be uncondItional.
- God’s grace enables us to forgive.
- Jesus is our model of forgiveness.
- In forgiving others we are restored to wholeness.
- We need to receive forgiveness.
- We need to forgive ourselves.
- Forgiveness is a decision, not an emotion.
Theme 2: Can all broken relationships be healed?
- define reconciliation
- understand the conditions for reconciliation
- give examples of how reconciliation restores people to the community and heals relationships
- distinguish between reconciliation and forgiveness
- explain how the Church enables and facilitates reconciliation
Note: Reconciliation means there will be a positive future relationship. Forgiveness means letting go of the desire for vengeance; it does not necessarily guarantee a future relationship.
- Forgiveness precedes reconciliation.
- Reconciliation heals relationships and restores people to the community.
- Reconciliation is conditional.
- Conversion is essential to reconciliation.
- The conditions for reconciliation are conversion, confession, contrition, correction (also called satisfaction).
- Conversion is a radical reorientation of life. A person who has experienced conversion will stop sinning, will show abhorrence toward the evil acts, and will demonstrate a desire and resolution to change his or her life.
- Christians are called to be open to reconciliation.
- The church community enables and facilitates reconciliation.
- Reconciliation may not mean restoring the relationship to “the way it was.”