Module 5: Forgiving

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Learning to forgive brings you closer to the healing and restoration your soul needs.

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Module Content

FORGIVENESS HEALS THE BROKEN

Forgiveness is that powerful. Accepting God’s forgiveness and then, in turn, learning to forgive is a major step to healing from trauma and suffering.

In this module, you will reflect on:

  • What is forgiveness
  • Why we forgive
  • How forgiving leads to healing

Listen to Ken’s story below to hear an example of the power of forgiveness.

Module Part 1

WHAT IS FORGIVENESS?

Sort the tiles into the two categories, creating a specific definition of forgiveness. As you sort the tiles, notice if anything surprises you or is different than what you thought.

Drag and drop tiles from the top pile into the correct categories below.

Retry?

Releasing the offender to God without waiting for them to apologize.

Being honest about the pain.

Trusting the offender again right away and allowing them to hurt us again.

Done instantly.

Dependent on the offenders apologizing first.

A process.

A precondition for reconciliation.

The same as reconciliation.

Letting offenders get away without facing any consequences of their actions.

Letting the offender face the consequences of their actions.

Separate from trusting the offender again.

Acting like the offense never happened or saying it did not hurt.

Forgiveness is:

Forgiveness is not:

FORGIVENESS CAN BE COMPLEX

Many people say forgive and forget. But is that possible? Is that biblical? What happens when trust is broken? What happens if justice still needs to be met? What does forgiveness look like in these complicated situations? Watch the video below to help answer these questions.

MATEO’S STORY

Why should we forgive other people? How can it help in our own healing? Listen to Mateo’s story and try to determine how forgiving can help him heal.

Reflect & Respond

Journal Exercise #1

Reflect on Mateo’s story. Have you felt the type of rejection and pain that Mateo experienced? What was your initial reaction and response?

If you have not yet downloaded and printed your Module 5 journal, you can download it now.

How can you relate to Mateo? Let’s hear the ending of his story.

Module Part 2

BIBLICAL FORGIVENESS

How do we forgive like Christ? Jesus forgave us from the worst of human depravity and then asked us to follow his example. What does the Bible say about forgiving?

It is not wrong to feel angry or bitterness in our pain. Especially if we’ve been wronged. The sin is letting that anger and bitterness take root in our hearts and minds. Biblical forgiveness releases us from this anger. Learn more in the video below.

Reflect & Respond

Journal Exercise #2

What does forgiveness mean to you? What has helped you to forgive others in the past? What may hinder you from forgiving someone now? Are there any people you need to forgive? Name them and ask God to help you forgive them. Close your hands tightly and imagine holding all the hurt from these people in your hands. Then open your hands as a sign that you are releasing their hold on you. You forgive them with God’s help.

If you have not yet downloaded and printed your Module 5 journal, you can download it now.

Module Part 3

WHAT IF IT’S US?

What if we are the ones who have caused the offense? What does repentance look like when we are the ones seeking forgiveness?

WE HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN

Some people continue to feel guilt, shame, and regret even after doing all they should to repent and make restoration. Why do you think this might be?

If our feelings make it seem that God is far away, we can talk to God about this. We can ask him to help us experience the truth that he has forgiven us and has removed our sins from us as far as the east is from the west.

Sometimes we will need other people to help us with this process, like a chaplain, pastor, counselor, or a trusted friend. This process can take time and the roots of our struggle can be deep. Gradually, our feelings can change to match the truth that we know in our minds.

Remember the earlier activity about forgiving? Complete it again now that you have learned the biblical foundation and value of forgiving. Has your understanding of forgiveness been impacted by what you’ve learned?

Drag and drop the tiles on the top into the corresponding categories below.

Retry?

Separate from trusting the offender again.

Being honest about the pain.

Trusting the offender again right away and allowing them to hurt us again.

Letting offenders get away without facing any consequences of their actions.

A process.

A precondition for reconciliation.

Dependent on the offenders apologizing first.

Releasing the offender to God without waiting for them to apologize.

The same as reconciliation.

Acting like the offense never happened or saying it did not hurt.

Done instantly.

Letting the offender face the consequence of their actions.

Forgiveness is:

Forgiveness is not:

Reflect & Respond

Journal Exercise #3

Write some words of praise and thanksgiving to God, rehearsing what he has done for you. Thank him for his forgiveness. Allow your emotions time to catch up with what you know.

Is there anyone you have wronged? Can you seek forgiveness from them? Write their name and then make a plan to approach them.

If you have not yet downloaded and printed your Module 5 journal, you can download it now.

WHAT’S NEXT

The next topic in this series is Coming Home. In this module, you will learn how to recognize the traumatic impact of separation and reintegration with family and friends.

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