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Alternate Activity 4: Responding to Ideas about Forgiveness

Activity time: 10 minutes

Materials for Activity

Preparation for Activity

  • Reading 477 in Singing the Living Tradition.


Description of Activity

Share a few brief quotations about forgiveness.


Ask for simple but active responses with instructions like these:

If you agree with this quotation, stand up; if you disagree with this quotation, stand on your chair.

Read each of the following quotations in turn. Let youth respond actively to each, and then give reasons for their responses. Ask at the end of each discussion whether anybody's ideas and reactions have changed.

It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.

- Mother Teresa

To understand everything is to forgive everything.

- Commonly attributed to Hindu Prince Gautama Siddhartha, the founder of Buddhism, but also sometimes attributed to other sources.

To understand is not only to pardon, but in the end to love.

- Walter Lippman

If I do not forgive everyone, I shall be untrue to myself.

- Albert Schweitzer

To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you.

- Unknown

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

- Mohandas Gandhi

We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.

- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.

- John F. Kennedy

The supreme sin is not to be able to forgive yourself.

- Waldo Frank

End the discussion by asking one or more volunteers to read Reading 477 in Singing the Living Tradition. You might try it as a responsive reading, with leaders reading "Forgive us" and "Forbid that we" while participants finish each verse. Everyone should then read the last verse together.

Including All Participants

Give instructions for active responses that all participants can comfortably follow. Do not ask youth to stand if even one in the group cannot.

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