Strategies for Seeing Anew #17
…towards love and forgiveness
What does this mean?
Love, in biblical terms, is a strong attachment to others and also a commitment to a way of behaving and thinking about others that does not depend on feelings alone. St Paul lists its characteristics in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. This attitude of love is kind and patient, humble and forgiving, selfless and hopeful.
Hatred is an opposite of love; it is an intense feeling of hostility that can become a prolonged resentful feeling of bitterness. The two can lead to wanting revenge – getting your own back – which is the opposite of mercy. Apathy is probably more common than hatred; it is a general failure to care and to respond to others with love.
God’s character is defined as love (1 John 4:8). In the Bible, God is shown as slow to anger but quick to forgive, as forgiveness is central to his character (Micah 7:18). Forgiveness is ceasing to carry resentment towards an enemy. Mercy is ceasing to demand full punishment. Forgiveness does not mean, however, that evil is allowed to continue; sometimes justice and making amends still need to happen. Forgiveness is often the first step towards reconciliation in a relationship. Even if a reconciliation does not follow, Jesus taught that hatred is not the Christian way; he called for people to love even their enemies.
For Christians, forgiveness is a response to being forgiven by God and was modelled by Christ who forgave his enemies (Luke 23:24). Asking God for forgiveness should result in forgiveness of others (Matthew 6:14-15; Colossians 3:13) Forgiveness is not just a feeling; it can be an act of will.
Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. Corrie Ten Boom
This section is about moving towards love and forgiveness. You may wish to think about where people move from; is it a move from hatred or apathy, or is it a move from a limited understanding of forgiveness?
What does this mean in school?
We can explore love, forgiveness and mercy, and their opposites across the curriculum. We can:
- Include stories of love, forgiveness and mercy (or their opposites) in history, personal development (PSHE) drama, English and other subjects. We can learn from a negative (hatred, bitterness and revenge) as well as a positive (love, forgiveness and mercy).
- Be intentional about introducing these terms and their definitions and highlight them as they occur, relating them to students’ lives and culture.
- Make sure students have the language of apology and forgiveness in modern foreign languages and use it in class.
- Review the way people relate in our classes and our own ability to apologise when necessary.
Think of a lesson where love, forgiveness and mercy and their opposites are relevant to the subject matter, for example, apathy towards the environment in geography and love or revenge as a motive in literature. How could you draw attention to these in teaching and learning?
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In this document:
1What if I could speak all languages of humans and of angels? If I did not love others, I would be nothing more than a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2What if I could prophesy and understand all secrets and all knowledge? And what if I had faith that moved mountains? I would be nothing, unless I loved others. 3What if I gave away all that I owned and let myself be burnt alive? I would gain nothing, unless I loved others. 4Love is kind and patient, never jealous, boastful, proud, or 5rude. Love isn't selfish or quick-tempered. It doesn't keep a record of wrongs that others do. 6Love rejoices in the truth, but not in evil. 7Love is always supportive, loyal, hopeful, and trusting. 8Love never fails! Everyone who prophesies will stop, and unknown languages will no longer be spoken. All that we know will be forgotten. 9We don't know everything, and our prophecies are not complete. 10But what is perfect will some day appear, and what isn't perfect will then disappear. 11When we were children, we thought and reasoned as children do. But when we grew up, we stopped our childish ways. 12Now all we can see of God is like a cloudy picture in a mirror. Later we will see him face to face. We don't know everything, but then we will, just as God completely understands us. 13For now there are faith, hope, and love. But of these three, the greatest is love. Speaking unknown languages and prophesying
1Dear friends, don't believe everyone who claims to have the Spirit of God. Test them all to find out if they really do come from God. Many false prophets have already gone out into the world, 2and you can know which ones come from God. His Spirit says that Jesus Christ had a truly human body. 3But when someone doesn't say this about Jesus, you know that person has a spirit that doesn't come from God and is the enemy of Christ. You knew that this enemy was coming into the world and now is already here. 4Children, you belong to God, and you have defeated these enemies. God's Spirit is in you and is more powerful than the one that is in the world. 5These enemies belong to this world, and the world listens to them, because they speak its language. 6We belong to God, and everyone who knows God will listen to us. But the people who don't know God won't listen to us. That is how we can tell the Spirit that speaks the truth from the one that tells lies. 7My dear friends, we must love each other. Love comes from God, and when we love each other, it shows that we have been given new life. We are now God's children, and we know him. 8God is love, and anyone who doesn't love others has never known him. 9God showed his love for us when he sent his only Son into the world to give us life. 10Real love isn't our love for God, but his love for us. God sent his Son to be the sacrifice by which our sins are forgiven. 11Dear friends, since God loved us this much, we must love each other. 12No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is truly in our hearts. 13God has given us his Spirit. That is how we know that we are one with him, just as he is one with us. 14God sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world. We saw his Son and are now telling others about him. 15God stays united with everyone who openly says that Jesus is the Son of God. That's how we stay united with God 16and are sure that God loves us. God is love. If we keep on loving others, we will stay united in our hearts with God, and he will stay united with us. 17If we truly love others and live as Christ did in this world, we won't be worried about the day of judgment. 18A real love for others will chase those worries away. The thought of being punished is what makes us afraid. It shows that we have not really learnt to love. 19We love because God loved us first. 20But if we say we love God and don't love each other, we are liars. We cannot see God. So how can we love God, if we don't love the people we can see? 21The commandment that God has given us is: Love God and love each other!
1I feel so empty inside like someone starving for grapes or figs, after the vines and trees have all been picked clean. 2No one is loyal to God; no one does right. Everyone is brutal and eager to deceive everyone else. 3People cooperate to commit crime. Judges and leaders demand bribes, and rulers cheat in court. 4The most honest of them is worse than a thorn patch. Your doom has come! Lookouts sound the warning, and everyone panics. 5Don't trust anyone, not even your best friend, and be careful what you say to the one you love. 6Sons refuse to respect their own fathers, daughters rebel against their own mothers, and daughters-in-law despise their mothers-in-law. Your family is now your enemy. 7But I trust the Lord God to save me, and I will wait for him to answer my prayer. 8My enemies, don't be glad because of my troubles! I may have fallen, but I will get up; I may be sitting in the dark, but the Lord is my light. 9I have sinned against the Lord . And so I must endure his anger, until he comes to my defence. But I know that I will see him making things right for me and leading me to the light. 10You, my enemies, said, The Lord God is helpless. Now each of you will be disgraced and put to shame. I will see you trampled like mud in the street. A bright future 11Towns of Judah, the day is coming when your walls will be rebuilt, and your boundaries enlarged. 12People will flock to you from Assyria and Egypt, from Babylonia and everywhere else. 13Those nations will suffer disaster because of what they did. Micah's prayer and the Lord 's answer 14Lead your people, Lord ! Come and be our shepherd. Grasslands surround us, but we live in a forest. So lead us to Bashan and Gilead, and let us find pasture as we did long ago. 15I, the Lord , will work miracles just as I did when I led you out of Egypt. 16Nations will see this and be ashamed because of their helpless armies. They will be in shock, unable to speak or hear, 17because of their fear of me, your Lord and God. Then they will come trembling, crawling out of their fortresses like insects or snakes, lapping up the dust. No one is like God The people said: 18Our God, no one is like you. We are all that is left of your chosen people, and you freely forgive our sin and guilt. You don't stay angry for ever; you're glad to have pity 19and pleased to be merciful. You will trample on our sins and throw them in the sea. 20You will keep your word and be faithful to Jacob and to Abraham, as you promised our ancestors many years ago.
1Everyone in the council got up and led Jesus off to Pilate. 2They started accusing him and said, We caught this man trying to get our people to riot and to stop paying taxes to the Emperor. He also claims that he is the Messiah, our king. 3Pilate asked Jesus, Are you the king of the Jews? Those are your words, Jesus answered. 4Pilate told the chief priests and the crowd, I don't find him guilty of anything. 5But they all kept on saying, He has been teaching and causing trouble all over Judea. He started in Galilee and has now come all the way here. Jesus is brought before Herod 6When Pilate heard this, he asked, Is this man from Galilee? 7After Pilate learnt that Jesus came from the region ruled by Herod, he sent him to Herod, who was in Jerusalem at that time. 8For a long time Herod had wanted to see Jesus and was very happy because he finally had this chance. He had heard many things about Jesus and hoped to see him perform a miracle. 9Herod asked him a lot of questions, but Jesus did not answer. 10Then the chief priests and the teachers of the Law of Moses stood up and accused him of all kinds of bad things. 11Herod and his soldiers made fun of Jesus and insulted him. They put a fine robe on him and sent him back to Pilate. 12That same day Herod and Pilate became friends, even though they had been enemies before this. The death sentence (Matthew 27.15-26; Mark 15.6-15; John 18.3919.16) 13Pilate called together the chief priests, the leaders, and the people. 14He told them, You brought Jesus to me and said he was a troublemaker. But I have questioned him here in front of you, and I have not found him guilty of anything that you say he has done. 15Herod didn't find him guilty either and sent him back. This man doesn't deserve to be put to death! 16I will just have him beaten with a whip and set free. 18But the whole crowd shouted, Kill Jesus! Give us Barabbas! 19Now Barabbas was in jail because he had started a riot in the city and had murdered someone. 20Pilate wanted to set Jesus free, so he spoke again to the crowds. 21But they kept shouting, Nail him to a cross! Nail him to a cross! 22Pilate spoke to them a third time, But what crime has he done? I have not found him guilty of anything for which he should be put to death. I will have him beaten with a whip and set free. 23The people kept on shouting as loud as they could for Jesus to be put to death. 24Finally, Pilate gave in. 25He freed the man who was in jail for rioting and murder, because he was the one the crowd wanted to be set free. Then Pilate handed Jesus over for them to do what they wanted with him. Jesus is nailed to a cross (Matthew 27.31-44; Mark 15.21-32; John 19.17-27) 26As Jesus was being led away, some soldiers grabbed hold of a man from Cyrene named Simon. He was coming in from the fields, but they put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. 27A large crowd was following Jesus, and in the crowd a lot of women were crying and weeping for him. 28Jesus turned to the women and said: Women of Jerusalem, don't cry for me! Cry for yourselves and for your children. 29Some day people will say, Women who never had children are really fortunate! 30At that time everyone will say to the mountains, Fall on us! They will say to the hills, Hide us! 31If this can happen when the wood is green, what do you think will happen when it is dry? 32Two criminals were led out to be put to death with Jesus. 33When the soldiers came to the place called The Skull, they nailed Jesus to a cross. They also nailed the two criminals to crosses, one on each side of Jesus. 34Jesus said, Father, forgive these people! They don't know what they're doing. While the crowd stood there watching Jesus, the soldiers gambled for his clothes. The leaders insulted him by saying, He saved others. Now he should save himself, if he really is God's chosen Messiah! 36The soldiers made fun of Jesus and brought him some wine. 37They said, If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself! 38Above him was a sign that said, This is the King of the Jews. 39One of the criminals hanging there also insulted Jesus by saying, Aren't you the Messiah? Save yourself and save us! 40But the other criminal told the first one off, Don't you fear God? Aren't you getting the same punishment as this man? 41We got what was coming to us, but he didn't do anything wrong. 42Then he said to Jesus, Remember me when you come into power! 43Jesus replied, I promise that today you will be with me in paradise. The death of Jesus (Matthew 27.45-56; Mark 15.33-41; John 19.28-30) 44Around midday the sky turned dark and stayed that way until the middle of the afternoon. 45The sun stopped shining, and the curtain in the temple split down the middle. 46Jesus shouted, Father, I put myself in your hands! Then he died. 47When the Roman officer saw what had happened, he praised God and said, Jesus must really have been a good man! 48A crowd had gathered to see the terrible sight. Then after they had seen it, they felt brokenhearted and went home. 49All Jesus' close friends and the women who had come with him from Galilee stood at a distance and watched. Jesus is buried (Matthew 27.57-61; Mark 15.42-47; John 19.38-42) 50There was a man named Joseph, who was from Arimathea in Judea. Joseph was a good and honest man, and he was eager for God's kingdom to come. He was also a member of the Jewish council, but he did not agree with what they had decided. 52Joseph went to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body. 53He took the body down from the cross and wrapped it in fine cloth. Then he put it in a tomb that had been cut out of solid rock and had never been used. 54It was Friday, and the Sabbath was about to begin. 55The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and watched how Jesus' body was placed in the tomb. 56Then they went to prepare some sweet-smelling spices for his burial. But on the Sabbath they rested, as the Law of Moses commands. Jesus is alive (Matthew 28.1-10; Mark 16.1-8; John 20.1-10)
1When you do good deeds, don't try to show off. If you do, you won't get a reward from your Father in heaven. 2When you give to the poor, don't blow a loud horn. That's what show-offs do in the meeting places and on the street corners, because they are always looking for praise. I can assure you that they already have their reward. 3When you give to the poor, don't let anyone know about it. 4Then your gift will be given in secret. Your Father knows what is done in secret, and he will reward you. Prayer (Luke 11.2-4) Jesus continued: 5When you pray, don't be like those show-offs who love to stand up and pray in the meeting places and on the street corners. They do this just to look good. I can assure you that they already have their reward. 6When you pray, go into a room alone and close the door. Pray to your Father in private. He knows what is done in private, and he will reward you. 7When you pray, don't talk on and on as people do who don't know God. They think God likes to hear long prayers. 8Don't be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask. 9You should pray like this: Our Father in heaven, help us to honour your name. 10Come and set up your kingdom, so that everyone on earth will obey you, as you are obeyed in heaven. 11Give us our food for today. 12Forgive us for doing wrong, as we forgive others. 13Keep us from being tempted and protect us from evil. 14If you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, your Father in heaven will forgive you. 15But if you don't forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. Worshipping God by going without eating Jesus continued: 16When you go without eating, don't try to look gloomy as those show-offs do when they go without eating. I can assure you that they already have their reward. 17Instead, comb your hair and wash your face. 18Then others won't know that you are going without eating. But your Father sees what is done in private, and he will reward you. Treasures in heaven (Luke 12.33,34) Jesus continued: 19Don't store up treasures on earth! Moths and rust can destroy them, and thieves can break in and steal them. 20Instead, store up your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy them, and thieves cannot break in and steal them. 21Your heart will always be where your treasure is. Light (Luke 11.34-36) Jesus continued: 22Your eyes are like a window for your body. When they are good, you have all the light you need. 23But when your eyes are bad, everything is dark. If the light inside you is dark, you are in the dark. Money (Luke 16.13) Jesus continued: 24You cannot be the slave of two masters! You will like one more than the other or be more loyal to one than the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Worry (Luke 12.22-31) Jesus continued: 25I tell you not to worry about your life. Don't worry about having something to eat, drink, or wear. Isn't life more than food or clothing? 26Look at the birds in the sky! They don't plant or harvest. They don't even store grain in barns. Yet your Father in heaven takes care of them. Aren't you worth more than birds? 27Can worry make you live longer? 28Why worry about clothes? Look how the wild flowers grow. They don't work hard to make their clothes. 29But I tell you that Solomon with all his wealth wasn't as well clothed as one of them. 30God gives such beauty to everything that grows in the fields, even though it is here today and thrown into a fire tomorrow. He will surely do even more for you! Why do you have such little faith? 31Don't worry and ask yourselves, Will we have anything to eat? Will we have anything to drink? Will we have any clothes to wear? 32Only people who don't know God are always worrying about such things. Your Father in heaven knows that you need all these. 33But more than anything else, put God's work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well. 34Don't worry about tomorrow. It will take care of itself. You have enough to worry about today. Judging others (Luke 6.37,38,41,42) Jesus said:
1You have been raised to life with Christ. Now set your heart on what is in heaven, where Christ rules at God's right side. 2Think about what is up there, not about what is here on earth. 3You died, which means that your life is hidden with Christ, who sits beside God. 4Christ gives meaning to your life, and when he appears, you will also appear with him in glory. 5Don't be controlled by your body. Kill every desire for the wrong kind of sex. Don't be immoral or indecent or have evil thoughts. Don't be greedy, which is the same as worshipping idols. 6God is angry with people who disobey him by doing these things. 7And that is exactly what you did, when you lived among people who behaved in this way. 8But now you must stop doing such things. You must stop being angry, hateful, and evil. You must no longer say insulting or cruel things about others. 9And stop lying to each other. You have given up your old way of life with its habits. 10Each of you is now a new person. You are becoming more and more like your Creator, and you will understand him better. 11It doesn't matter if you are a Greek or a Jew, or if you are circumcised or not. You may even be a barbarian or a Scythian, and you may be a slave or a free person. Yet Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us. 12God loves you and has chosen you as his own special people. So be gentle, kind, humble, meek, and patient. 13Put up with each other, and forgive anyone who does you wrong, just as Christ has forgiven you. 14Love is more important than anything else. It is what ties everything completely together. 15Each one of you is part of the body of Christ, and you were chosen to live together in peace. So let the peace that comes from Christ control your thoughts. And be grateful. 16Let the message about Christ completely fill your lives, while you use all your wisdom to teach and instruct each other. With thankful hearts, sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. 17Whatever you say or do should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, as you give thanks to God the Father because of him. Some rules for Christian living 18A wife must put her husband first. This is her duty as a follower of the Lord. 19A husband must love his wife and not abuse her. 20Children must always obey their parents. This pleases the Lord. 21Parents, don't be hard on your children. If you are, they might give up. 22Slaves, you must always obey your earthly masters. Try to please them at all times, and not just when you think they are watching. Honour the Lord and serve your masters with your whole heart. 23Do your work willingly, as though you were serving the Lord himself, and not just your earthly master. 24In fact, the Lord Christ is the one you are really serving, and you know that he will reward you. 25But Christ has no favourites! He will punish evil people, just as they deserve.