Authentic forgiveness stems from a deep faith that we are enough, that love is abundant, and that even though we have been wronged, we don’t have to spend our emotional energy trying to have that “debt” paid back to us. This kind of trust doesn’t come easily! It takes practice to train our minds to learn to let go of what’s not important, so we can make room for things that really matter. That’s what Practicing Forgiveness is here to offer – a place for people to come together and focus on ways to learn to accept, forgive and love each other.
Releasing our resentments toward others requires attention, prayer and often community support – three essential components of a small group program. Our goal with this year’s Journey Program involves bringing communities together around the common desire to learn to love and forgive one another. In order to do this, we have based this program on various stories Jesus tells about forgiveness, pairing each Bible story with a powerful story of forgiveness from the Forgiveness Project . Each of the five-weeks of the program has an opportunity to gather and discuss the topic with others in a small group. There are also daily readings of the Practicing Forgiveness workbook, participants are encouraged to practice some element of forgiveness, and see its application to their lives, in addition to various offerings of meditations, activities, and sermons.
Focus on and explore ways to learn to accept, forgive and love each other. This is an opportunity to practice love, even when it’s not easy. You can start your own exploration at any time, with our 5 week email program, with readings, insights, and opportunities for reflection. Or start your own small group in your church or community, using the Practicing Forgiveness workbook and related resources.
Read an overview of each week of the program. Each of the five weeks explores a communication task drawn from the parable:
- Week 1: Why Forgive? Forgiveness, as a form of surrender and release, expands our capacity to love.
- Week 2: Forgiving Others True forgiveness blends both mercy and justice.
- Week 3: Being Forgiven Forgiveness means finding the courage to see our own errors – not just those of others.
- Week 4: Self-Forgiveness Forgiveness turns away the false messages of harsh self-judgment.
- Week 5: Transformation Forgiveness transforms us from victim to survivor, from helpless to empowered.
- Week 6: Wrap up and Celebration Peace and joy comes when we embrace opportunities to forgive.
Elements of the program
As with all of the Journey Programs, you can use the materials in a variety of ways:
- Read the materials, using either the workbook, or by subscribing to receive the daily emails.
- Meet in a small group to study, discuss, and learn from each other.
- Run the program for a congregation, using all the elements below.
Daily Bible study is a wonderful and enriching way to ground your spiritual growth work. The workbook provides ideas for daily reading from scripture, reflections from individuals, and concrete ideas for practicing forgiveness in daily life.
- Order your Practicing Forgiveness workbook (available in paperback, eBook, or email subscription).
- Subscribe to receive the content by email.
A small group is a gathering of people who commit to meet on a weekly basis to explore their faith and support each other in applying that faith to life. Small groups usually include prayer, a time for checking in, and discussions or related activities.
- Find out about small group opportunities in your area by asking your pastor or contacting the pastor of a local participating congregation.
- Start your own! It’s easy with the step-by-step Practicing Forgiveness workbook, which includes instructions for small group leaders and participants alike.
Each week, the worship service and Sunday School sessions will focus on one topic of Practicing Forgiveness program.
- Attend worship on Sunday at one of the participating congregations.
- Help inspire children to make space in their lives for God with lessons from the Youth and Sunday School Program.
- Promote the program in your local area with promotional materials.
Are you a pastor, program director, or small group leader? Visit our New Church Journey leaders page for leader information and resources.
Questions? Contact us by email at [email protected] .
This website contains a wealth of information about the New Church, and a practical, spiritual path to happiness. Read more about the beliefs of the New Church, as well as more about Emanuel Swedenborg.