Forgiveness

Conversation Guide

The first of The Four Sacred Gifts, per indigenous wisdom, is - Forgive the Unforgivable. But why? And how? Forgiving wrongs, whether they be intentional, unintentional, historic, big or small, is often not a simple thing. For many of us, doing so can be very challenging. There are so many ways that we can be hurt by others and that we may hurt others in our lives. How we manage those hurts is a key part of shaping our lives internally and externally. In what ways might forgiveness help us to become the person we want to be?

Background Information:

This conversation is adapted in part from themes found in Anita L. Sanchez's book, The Four Sacred Gifts: Indigenous Wisdom for Modern Times. You can also watch a video of this conversation here.

Let's Get Started!

This Living Room Conversation flows through five rounds of questions and a closing. Some rounds ask you to answer each question. Others feature multiple questions that serve as conversation starters — you need only respond to the one or two you find most interesting.

Before you Begin...

Please go over the Conversation Agreements with your participants.

ONE: Why are we here?

What interested you or drew you to this topic?

TWO: Your core values

Answer one or more of the following:

  • What sense of purpose or duty guides you in life? What is your mission statement?
  • What would your best friend say about who you are and what makes you tick?
  • What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country, now and long-term?
THREE:

Forgiveness

Remember that the goal of this Living Room Conversation is for each participant to listen to and learn about the different opinions within the group to see where you might share interests, intentions, and goals.

Answer one or more of the following:

  • What is your experience of forgiveness? What have you forgiven and why?   
  • Are there people you have yet to forgive or you will never forgive?  What are examples you are willing to share? Why have you yet to forgive, or why do you think others will never forgive you?
  • What are the benefits and/or detriments of forgiving?  For yourself, for the other, for the community?
  • How does one (or should one ever) forgive the unforgivable?  Imagining yourself doing this, what would it be like? What do you consider might be “unforgivable”?
  • What does forgiveness mean? What does it include and not include?
  • If it’s possible to both attempt forgiveness prematurely, and avoid it indefinitely, how does one know they are “ready” for seeking forgiveness?  

FOUR: Reflection

Answer one or more of the following:

  • In one sentence, share what was most meaningful or valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation?
  • What new understanding or common ground did you find within this topic?
  • Has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?

FIVE: Accomplishment and moving forward

Answer both of the following questions:

  • Name one important thing that was accomplished here.
  • Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?

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