Forgiveness is fundamental to the character of God.
In the Lord’s Prayer we ask God to forgive us our sins or trespasses as we forgive those who sin against us. Forgiveness was at the heart of everything he did and is at the heart of the Lord’s Prayer.
We are saying we wish God to treat us in the same way we treat other people! Forgiveness is the means by which damaged relationships are restored. It is an act of the will, motivated by love. Children and adults in school are helped to acknowledge that we all make mistakes and we all need forgiveness from God and each other. Throughout the Bible, God is described as slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin (Numbers 14:18).
Jesus was uncompromising in his command to forgive. Forgive, he said, ‘seventy times seven’ (Matthew 18:21). In other words, forgive and keep on forgiving without limit.
How can we demonstrate our value of forgiveness?
Matthew 6:14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
Matthew 18:21-22 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you not seven times, but seventy-seven times (or seventy times seven times).’
Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
- Forgive someone if they say or do something you don’t like.
- Try not to hold grudges.
- Help others to forgive if they are finding it hard.
- Give everyone a fresh start as you would like for yourself
- Forgive yourself if you make a mistake and offer an apology
Everyone makes mistakes, it’s part of being human. Sometimes our mistakes hurt someone else, we can also be hurt ourselves. When this happens we need to forgive, to accept an apology that is really meant. When we forgive, we are able to move forward and have a fresh start.
Ephesians 4 v32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
If we really want to love, we must learn how to forgive – Mother Teresa
We should reflect on the following questions: How are children and adults within the school community helped to acknowledge that we all make mistakes and we all need forgiveness from God and each other? How does the school help all members of the community to make amends for their mistakes? How does the school celebrate the idea that God’s love is so great that forgiveness is always possible? How does the school foster the idea that forgiveness and acceptance of all builds the life of the school community?
Example Bible Story
The Prodigal Son
Luke’s Gospel Chapter 15
Song: 'A Heart That Forgives' (click to listen)
Song: 'Forgiveness' (click to listen)