Back to: CHRISTIAN RELIGIOUS STUDIES SS1
Welcome to class!
In today’s class, we will be talking about forgiveness. Enjoy the class!
Forgiveness implies given powder or waving any negative feeling or desire for punishment. It may come upon request by the offender, sometimes the offender may not need to ask for forgiveness before it is given. Where the offended person has decided to forgive an offender, he would no longer blame or hold any resentment against his offender. Forgiveness may be achieved in three ways:
- when the offender realises his mistake and decides to ask for pardon in this case you may be pardoned and the issue resolved.
- The offended individual may on his part due to the love of God voluntarily decide to pardon an offender.
- A third party may decide to intervene by mediating in the matter and reconciling the parties concerned.
Importance of forgiveness
It is very important in our day-to-day interaction with others. Sometimes we may offend others unknowingly. Whenever the offended individual calls our attention to what we have done we are expected to humble ourselves by asking for forgiveness. There are times also that you may get offended by the action of an individual the Bible teaches that you call the individual to order.
“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him.” Matthew 5: 23-24.
When Peter asked Jesus the number of times an individual can offend us before we decide not to forgive Jesus replied, “I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:22
This emphasises the need for us to be willing to forgive when anyone offends us. Forgiveness can, therefore, be referred to as an attribute of Christians.
Paul’s teaching on forgiveness
Paul in his letter to Philemon played a reconciliatory role between Philemon and Onesimus his runaway slave. Paul begged Philemon to compassionately restore back his runaway servant Onesimus. Although Onesimus offence was not stated in this epistle. However, we can see that Paul effectively mediated between his friend Philemon and Onesimus. Paul was willing to pay for the restoration costs.
Lessons to learn
- Paul was very sincere in his reconciliatory role. Paul was willing to pay off any potential debt incurred by Onesimus action. Believers must learn from this while mediating between two erring parties.
- We are not expected to cause division by our actions or inactions. Christians should learn from Paul in taking responsibility to ensure peace.
- Christians can learn from Paul’s instruction to Philemon to treat Onesimus as a brother and not a slave. Domestic staff must be treated with dignity because all men are equal before God
- An act of forgiveness should go beyond the mere act of forgiving but should also include rehabilitation and reconciliation.
- Forgiveness of our sins by God is dependent on the extent to which we are willing to forgive others.
What are the important lessons we learnt about forgiveness from this topic?
- How did Paul use the case of Onesimus to emphasize the concept of forgiveness? (June 2003 WASSCE)
- How did Paul reconcile Onesimus and what can we learn about forgiveness from this letter? (June 1988 SSCE)
In our next class, we will be talking about Humility. We hope you enjoyed the class.
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