Forgiveness Part 1

Part 1: The person doing harm

Lesson powerpoint here

Forgiveness: what is it?

  • Ask students what they think ‘forgiveness’ means (there is a definition on the slides).
  • Ask students to individually make a list of things/actions/crimes that they could forgive and a list of things that they could not forgive.
  • Ask students to get into small groups and compare their lists. Do they agree with each other? What do they disagree on?
  • Thinking about the lists that the students have come up with, ask them what forgiveness actually involves: how do we move from being offended and hurt, to being able to wish the person who has hurt us well?

Forgiveness in action: Jon Howe and Simon Pierce.

  • Play the 30 minute video from The Gift
  • Pause after 6 minutes 45 seconds and explain the idea of shame. Shame is the normal emotional response when we recognise we have got something wrong. It causes any one of 4 reactions (on lesson slides) and this is called the compass of shame.
  • Ask the students to describe the effect that shame has had on Jon Howe.
  • There are some questions on the slides about the remainder of the story:
  • What happened that needs to be forgiven?
  • How has being a bully affected Jon Howe over the course of his life?
  • Ask the students what they think about Jon Howe, the man who bullied Simon Pierce at school. What kind of person is he? What do others think of him?
  • What did Simon Pierce think about Jon Howe before they met?
  • What happened when they did meet?
  • What do you think it was that enabled Simon to forgive Jon?
  • Do you think Simon should have forgiven Jon?

Discuss these questions as a class.

Prep: ask students to reflect on times when they have harmed others and what their experiences of shame were. Ask them to write about their experiences.