To err is human, to forgive divine.
— Alexander Pope
To understand everything is to forgive everything
— Hindu Prince Gautama Siddhartha, the founder of Buddhism
IN TODAY’S SESSION… We talked about forgiveness, beginning with a quotation that says it is human to err and divine to forgive. Then we heard two stories, one about an angry god, the other about Jesus asking God to forgive the people who crucified him. We spent some time in a spiritual space and we did some wall-to-wall questions. During Faith in Action, we made decisions about forgiving ourselves and other people.
EXPLORE THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Talk about…
- Forgiveness at home. Are you quick to forgive each other, or do you hold grudges?
- Not talking. In some families, people get so angry that they stop talking to one another. Does that happen to you? How much good does it do?
- Salvation. What are your thoughts about salvation?
EXTEND THE TOPIC TOGETHER. Try…
- Saying, “I’m sorry” more often. In every family, people sometimes bother each other, even when they do not mean to. Will saying, “I’m sorry” more often result in somebody else saying “I forgive you” more often?
- Looking for movies and television shows where forgiveness is an issue. Could the characters solve some problems just by saying, “I’m sorry,” and “I forgive”?
- Switching mental gears. The next time somebody does something wrong that hurts you, turn off your anger and turn on your understanding. Why did the wrong thing happen? Does understanding it make it easier to forgive the person who did it? Does the Siddhartha quote seem true?
MYSTERY AND ME
Are you having trouble forgiving yourself for something you did that was wrong? Do you understand why it happened? Does solving that mystery make it easier to forgive yourself? If you are keeping a journal, write some of your thoughts about forgiving yourself. If you have nothing to forgive yourself for, write a big “good going” in your journal.
A FAMILY RITUAL
Talk each day about the right and wrong you have experienced. Did you each do something good you want to share? Is there somebody in the family you want to thank for a virtuous act? Is there something you wish you had not done that you need to talk about? How can you make tomorrow a better day?
A FAMILY GAME
The next time you and another family member get angry at each other, see how fast you can turn the anger into laughter. Who can say something funny first?
Find a space that everybody in your family finds spiritual. Enjoy it together as often as possible.