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In the Hebrew Scriptures ashes were used as a sign of grief or mourning. There are many forms of grief that we experience in our lives. Confusion or despair, lament or pain, loss or even death come crashing into our lives. Yet, one of the deepest experiences of grief we can have is the act of forgiveness.

It’s not easy to forgive. It’s not light to let go. In fact, it means taking that pain that has been inflicted upon us and holding it so tightly that we refuse to let it lash out at anyone else. In this series we return to the topic of grief, and in particular the experience of forgiveness. How can Jesus lead us to let go of hurt?

Part 1 - What Forgiveness Isn't

Forgiveness is not a moment. Forgiveness is not forgetting. Forgiveness is not for them. In order to understand forgiveness in our lives sometimes we need to start with what it isn't.

Discussion Notes (part 1)

Part 2 - Forgive Yourself

Sometimes our more abstract. high-minded concepts can make it hard for us to access forgiveness in our lives. The Scriptures actually speak in very concrete images of forgiveness. Perhaps this can help us.

Discussion Notes (Part 2)

Part 3 - Revenge and Why it Never Works

Revenge is when we try to take our pain and recreate it inside someone else. This never works and leads to more despair. How can we defuse this instinct in order to work towards wholeness?

Discussion Notes (Part 3)

Part 4 - Boundaries

Don't confuse forgiveness with giving someone unfettered access to your life. For a whole host of reasons we sometimes need to create and maintain healthy boundaries even as we forgive those who may have injured us in the past.

Discussion Notes (Part 4)

Supplemental Content

The response to this series was very encouraging. It was amazing to see people in the community and online interact with the material and share stories of struggle and forgiveness in their lives. Out of those stories a number of questions emerged and so we've decided to put together some additional content to address ideas that weren't touched on fully in the series.

A. It's a Skill to Develop

B. You Can't Forgive an Organization

C. Steps to Start a Reconciliation Conversation