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CHAPTER 1
THE BEAUTY OF FORGIVENESS
(Bible source: Genesis 45:1-14; Mattew 6:14-15 and Mattew 18:22-35)

PRAYING AND SINGING
A. Introduction
Have you ever heard about Nelson Mandela? He was a heroic figure of South
Africa who fought for justice for native people who were oppressed and treated
unfairly. Due to his effort fighting for his people, he had been imprisoned for more
than 20 years. After Nelson Mandela was released and later won the presidential
election in South Africa and eventually became the president, the first person he
invited to have dinner with him was a prisoner warder of previous prison where
Mandela was jailed. Mandela graciously invited the warder even though that man
often disserved him. When journalists asked him this question: “why do you give a
priority to the warden who often hurt you?” Mandela replied: “you must firstly
forgive someone who is close to you and hurt you the most. If you can do that, then
you can forgive all people who offense you.” To forgive means to redeem yourself
from hatred and to let peace rule in your heart.
What an incredible attitude! Have you ever forgiven anyone? Or have you ever
been forgiven by someone? Try to share your experience in a group of students, or
you might want to share it with a friend who sits next to you in the class. Tell them
how you forgave or were forgiven by someone. How did you feel after forgiving or
being forgiven? In contrary, do you have any experience when you refused to forgive,
or when you were not forgiven? How did you feel?


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B. Understanding Forgiveness
Activity 1
After sharing about your feeling when forgiving and being forgiven, now write
down your definition of forgiving.
In my opinion, forgiving is:
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Why this matter of forgiveness is important for Christians? In your opinion, do
we need to forgive other people in this life? On the other hand, do we need
forgiveness from other people?

Activity 2
To forgive means we excuse someone upon the mistake he/she has done and no
longer make a fuss about it. However, it is pretty difficult to forgive. Why? Since
everybody has ego which is likely to place his/herself as the blameless person, while
other people would be considered as the faulty ones. How come? Because we are
always tempted to look into ourselves only, we use our own perspective to consider
and often forget to see from others’ perspectives. For example, whenever there is
problem or dispute with a friend, we tend to blame our friend without trying to seek
to know why he/she is angry at us. Often we ignore the fact that there might be any
misbehave of ours that makes our friend upset.
Many people think that to forgive means to forget the problems, to allow others’
faults, to redeem ourselves from hatred, grudge and anger. Essentially, to forgive is
an act that we do at the first place for ourselves without ignoring people who have
hurt us. By forgiving we would rather discharge ourselves from anger and grudge,
instead of discharging other people from our mind.
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However deep the wound is, we would never recover from it until we are able to
forgive the people who did the mistake to us. Forgiveness is a decision from the heart
and forgiving will never change the past, but will brighten the future instead. It means
that the forgiveness given will not erase the past since everything already happened.
By forgiving, someone is redeemed from the burden of hatred, and his/her heart will
be at peace. And so the step forward will be much lighter.

Is it easy to forget the pain of our heart?
In several cases it is very difficult to heal the pain and hatred. However try to
note that forgiveness could refer to these things bellow.
1. To release ourselves from the burden of hatred and replace it with peace. Take
some plain water. Then pour some coffee or tea into the water. After some times,
the plain water will turn to be yellowish when it is given the tea, or blackish when
it is given the coffee. It works the same way when your heart changes from white
to be black. You surely do not expect your heart to be dark like coffee, do you?
2. It does not mean that we allow ourselves to be hurt the second time. Joseph
assured that his brothers had changed and that he would not be the victim once
again. Hence you can forgive but do not surrender yourself to be a victim of anger
or other negative attitudes.

C. How To Forgive?
You were once humiliated and that memory stays in your mind. The more you
recall it, the deeper your hatred is. Try to think of why that person did such thing to
you! Then try to write down the possible causes in a list. For example, because you
are a smart and diligent student, or because you are likely to shut your friends up so
that they might have a wrong impression about yourself. Maybe because you
carelessly spread out the secret which was entrusted to you, or because you forget to
invite your friend to your birthday party, or because you have a new friend. If we link
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back, there is always a cause of a relationship damage which ends up with a fight and
hatred, also grudge. If we would try to be objective, we will find out that both parties
have a part that causes the damage of a relationship between friends or siblings.
In the story of Joseph and his brothers, he realized that his father used to love
and favor him more than other sons. That led to his brothers’ jealousy and even
hatred toward him. This hatred eventually was manifested; they sold him as a slave.
However, Joseph did not hate them, even though we also know that Joseph did not
spontaneously forgive his brothers. He tested them by putting his goblet into their
youngest brother’s sack. Joseph wanted to test his brothers to see if they have
changed, or if they would sacrifice his brother just the same way they did unto him in
the past when they hated him and sold him as a slave. Evidently, his brothers had
changed. They defended Benyamin and cried out for him; even the oldest brother was
willing to be imprisoned in the place of their youngest brother. That way, Joseph
finally knew that his brothers now had changed and therefore, he revealed himself to
them and forgave their wickedness. Joseph did not postpone until his brothers
become terrified and beg him for forgiveness, but Joseph was the one who took the
initiative to come to them.
Thus, forgiveness we give to people should come from our good will and
sincerity. Joseph was basically a forgiving person. Since he saw them, he already
tried to create a restoration of their relationship as brothers. It is very important to
associate forgiveness with restoration of relationship. Why so? When we forgive
someone, our effort would not stop by forgiving; we also attempt to restore our
relationship with that person.
If we lean on our own capability, it would be really hard to forgive others. Ask
God to help you to give wisdom so that you will be enabled to forgive others and also
be willing to apologize to others upon your faults.


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Activity 3
Bible Comprehension
Read Matthew 10:22-35 thoroughly. It contain a parable about someone whose
faults has been forgiven nonetheless he refuses to forgive other’s faults. The king is
God, while the indebted are God’s people. Conclusion of this parable is found in
(verse 35). Write down your opinion about this part of the Bible correlated with our
topic of forgiveness! Compare it with your experience as we have discussed in the
introduction of this topic.

Activity 4
Learn From A Song.
Listen to this song below carefully, then sing it while contemplating in its
meaning correlated with forgiveness. What does the song say about forgiveness?
Repeat this song in your heart and try to have faith in God’s forgiveness through
Jesus Christ.
Nothing but the blood of Jesus
(Robert Lowry - 1876)
What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
O precious is the flow
that makes me white as snow;
no other fount I know;
nothing but the blood of Jesus.


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Write down your impression when singing the song above:
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Activity 5
God has forgiven us first, He sent Jesus Christ to save us. We answer to God’s
forgiveness by forgiving other people who hurt us, or by willingly seeking
forgiveness from those whom we disserve or hurt. Many people still find it difficult
to either forgive others or to seek forgiveness upon their mistakes because they think
that they are righteous. Indeed, if we lean on our own strength, forgiving others will
be very difficult to do. But people of faith can always count on the gift of Holy Spirit
to help moving their hearts to forgive others.

Write down a prayer which essentially tells that you are asking forgiveness from
God, also asking forgiveness for all faults you have done to God and to others.

Pray and Sing

Pray and Sing

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