Theme 1: What does it really mean to forgive?

Outcomes
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?

Outcomes
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.”
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