Be Forgiving

Theme 1: What does it really mean to forgive?

Students will

  • 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

Key Concepts

  • “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?

Students will

  • 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

Key Concepts
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.”

Hedonism Kant Be The Way, Can It?

In a universe increasing less black and white and enjoying more grey, I pause to reflect on the concept of Christian Hedonism.

I have always appreciated the more rigorously fashioned ethics of Kant, an action is either right or wrong, all times all places in the universe. One does not do the right thing out of hope for a reward, only of the duty that knowing the right thing to do compels one to do the right thing. The difficulty is discerning or revealing an actions’ inherent evil or righteousness. But there is no room in his logic for an ambiguous action – only the certainty of judging an act objectively as right or wrong. Straightforward, an action either is or is not right. Our appetite for a reward or aversion to punishment is irrelevant. Period.

Now I read about CS Lewis and he shakes me up a little bit about something I was certain – hedonism is a bad thing. Lewis reflects on an objection to Kant’s matter of fact denial of hedonism:

British writer C. S. Lewis, in an oft-quoted passage in his short piece “The Weight of Glory,” likewise objects to Kantian ethics:
If there lurks in most modern minds the notion that to desire our own good and to earnestly hope for the enjoyment of it is a bad thing, I suggest that this notion has crept in from Kant and the Stoics and is no part of the Christian faith. Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling around with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.[2]

So, ought we do the right thing because there is a reward, or not? Can it be both ways, do it because it is right AND do it because a reward is there?

Why ought we do the right thing?


When Siddhartha became fully enlightened, he realized that people are not really separate from each other; we are all interconnected. He also realized that nothing in life is permanent; things change. Suffering is always a part of life, but there is a path that leads away from suffering.

In Buddhism, enlightenment means reaching a state beyond desire and suffering. But the word also has other meanings. Write about the meanings of the word enlightenment.