Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Heeding the Call: A Program on Justicemaking for Junior High School Youth

Activity 4: Steps to Forgiveness

Activity time: 10 minutes

Description of Activity

Participants discuss possible steps to take toward forgiveness.

State that forgiveness does not mean you condone actions. It does not have to mean you want to be in relationship with the trespasser again. True forgiveness can help both parties move forward with their lives. It can also help us understand how to be in better relationship with each other.

Acknowledge again that sometimes it is difficult or impossible to forgive. However, in those times when we desire forgiveness-both to be forgiven and to give forgiveness-what are some steps we can take to reach forgiveness?

This activity is not a brainstorm. As youth share, note their ideas on newsprint and explore them fully. Ask, "Can you think of a time that you or someone else took this step toward forgiveness? Was it successful?" Encourage youth to share actual experiences of forgiving or seeking forgiveness, reminding them not to use actual names of other people who other participants might know. Be prepared to share your stories.

Try to create actual steps participants can commit to taking to seek or give forgiveness. These steps should include: identify the offense; ask "Who have I hurt?" (realizing that one answer might be "you"); empathizing; apologizing, possibly more than once; making restitutions or committing to repair the situation in another way; and, finally, letting go of resentment or hurt feelings.

Other steps could be discussed. These might include: a change in future behavior; examining what part you played in the wrong doing; and public apologies.