In our most recent blog post, we began to discuss “the family as forgiving community.” We suggested then, and will now address, a theme we call the family forgiveness gathering as one way to achieve the goals of the family as forgiving community.
In the family forgiveness gathering, the parents are encouraged to create a time and place for family discussions. We recommend that the parents gather the family together at least once a week to have a quiet discussion about forgiveness. They should keep in mind that to forgive is not the same as excusing or forgetting or even reconciling and that forgiveness works hand-in-hand with justice.
Examples of questions for the family forgiveness meeting might include:
What does it mean to forgive someone?
Who was particularly kind and loving to you this week?
What did that feel like?
When the person was really loving toward you, what were your thoughts about the person?
When the person was really loving, how did you behave toward that person?
Was anyone particularly unfair or mean to you this week?
What did it feel like when you were treated in a mean way?
What were your thoughts?
How did you behave at first?
Did you try to forgive the person for being unfair to you?
What does forgiveness feel like?
What are your thoughts when you forgive?
What are your thoughts specifically toward the one who acted unfairly to you when you forgive him or her?
How did you behave toward the person once you forgave?
If you have not yet forgiven, what is a first step in forgiving him or her? (Make a decision to be kind, commit to forgiving, begin in a small way to see that the person is in fact a person of worth.)
What struggles do you have with forgiving someone who behaved in an unkind way to you?
In other words, what is difficult about forgiving?
What is easy about forgiving for you?
The parents are reminded that they do not have to know all the answers. What do you think? Is 15 minutes once a week worth the effort to strengthen your children for the hurts to come, including those which might come many years from now?