Forgiveness is “letting go of bitterness and revenge.”

Forgiveness is not a feeling, and it does not take away or excuse what others have done. Real forgiveness is recognizing the problem and all the pain and hurt that comes with it—and then choosing to let go of any bitterness, anger, and desire for revenge so you can move on with life. 

If you don’t forgive or let go, your life starts to revolve around the other person and how you can get even. Resentment then leads you to act with the same selfishness the other person demonstrated, making the problem worse. 

Forgiveness does not always remove the consequences of an offense. A student might forgive another student for an unkind remark, but the teacher might still send the offender to the principal’s office. 

Forgiveness is not easy, and sometimes it is a long process to work through the situation, rebuild trust, and restore a relationship. Sometimes the relationship cannot be restored and things are never the same. Even then, the attitude of forgiveness clears your mind so you can work through the process and make the most of the future.

I Will:

  1. Acknowledge the pain.
  2. Choose to forgive.
  3. Not seek revenge.
  4. Ask for forgiveness when I do wrong.
  5. Move on with life.

Discussion Starters:

  • Why is forgiveness better than bitterness and revenge?
  • How does it feel when someone forgives you?
  • What makes it hard to forgive?
  • How does forgiveness show strength of character?

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Learn hand motions for the poem and song. Listen to the nature story. Presented by Robert Greenlaw.

Get lyrics to the poem in the Forgiveness Curriculum.

Get music for "Choosing to Forgive" in the Songbook & CD set.

Read the full nature story in the Forgiveness Curriculum.