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Learning Forgiveness

A Lenten Study

Publication Date:
1/13/2010
Pages:
0
Product Type:
Internet Download
Product Number:
TC0357

In this six-session study, we'll consider the various aspects of forgiveness, a concept perhaps more central to Christianity than to any other religion.

Christians differ widely in their interpretations of how forgiveness should be practiced. Some urge forgiveness as a Christian duty under all circumstances, while others argue that certain conditions must be met before forgiveness can be meaningful or effective. How do we sort through such competing claims and interpretations? And how do we get past some of our emotional barriers to real forgiveness? These are the kinds of the questions we will explore together in this study of a theme particularly well-suited to the season of Lent, but fit for any season of our lives.

Session One: The goal of this session is to welcome participants and encourage them to begin reflecting on forgiveness in relation to human community. Parables and folk tales are used to illustrate challenges faced by the need to forgive--and to be forgiven.

Session Two: This session addresses awareness, acknowledgment, and confession as the foundation for seeking and receiving forgiveness. Self-examination allows us to look more objectively at our urge to judge others.

Session Three: In this session we'll learn to identify some of our external and internal enemies and begin to move toward loving them. When we begin to see ourselves standing with those who have fallen into the seduction of sin, it casts a whole new light on what it means to pray for our enemies.

Session Four: The goals of this session are to identify at least one thing for which we need forgiveness and to seek both God's forgiveness and that of any person(s) affected by our offense. We'll consider how to reconcile divine judgment with divine love as we explore the deeper spirit of repentance, one of the key practices of Lent.

Session Five: The sense in most New Testament teachings is that forgiving others is imperative--not optional. What if we can't forgive? Or we're simply not ready to forgive? This session uses touching stories of forgiveness to illuminate these challenging themes.

Session Six: Many people believe that forgiveness is not possible without repentance, and that to offer forgiveness before repentance is a travesty of just, accountable relationships. But what of Jesus' willingness to forgive on the cross? Can we reverse the conventional relationship between repentance and forgiveness?

Marjorie J. Thompson is the author of Forgiveness: A Lenten Study. A Presbyterian pastor, she spent thirteen years as Director of Congregational Spirituality with Upper Room Ministries. She currently does freelance work in retreat leadership, teaching, and writing.


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