The Road to Forgiveness

“The Road to Forgiveness,” The Divine Gift of Forgiveness Teacher Material (2021)

“The Road to Forgiveness,” The Divine Gift of Forgiveness Teacher Material

a young adult walking on a path

Week 8 Teacher Material

The Road to Forgiveness

In this lesson, students will identify four common misconceptions about repentance and plan how to avoid these detours on their personal road to forgiveness. Students will also consider how repentance includes both turning away from sin and turning toward the Savior. They will also have the opportunity to plan how they can more fully come unto Christ.

Ideas for Teaching

Chapter 13

If we are not careful, some misconceptions can be detours on our way to forgiveness.

  • Consider beginning class by reviewing or inviting a student to summarize the story of Elder and Sister Andersen taking a detour on their way to a mission home in the Philippines (see the first four paragraphs of chapter 13). Invite students to share how this story could be likened to our efforts to repent and feel forgiven. You might then read the sixth paragraph of the chapter (which begins “Sometimes as we begin …”). Consider drawing a road on the board with several detours and adding to the drawing as students share during class.

  • You might invite students to identify the detours to repentance they discovered from their study of chapter 13 and share how each detour can delay repentance and lead us away from reliance on the Savior. This may lead to discussing the detours to repentance in a different order than they appear in the book, which is fine. You might use the following principles and teaching ideas to help in your discussion.

    1. Repentance is not a punishment for sins. Rather, repentance relieves the guilt, pain, and suffering caused by sin.

      • You might use the second paragraph in the “Detour #1” section (which begins with “A person cannot suffer …”) to help students identify truths similar to those stated in the section heading above. (See also Doctrine and Covenants 19:4, 16–18.) You might then discuss one or both of the following questions:

        • What is the difference between suffering for your sins and suffering because of your sins?

        • How does Elder Andersen’s analogy of cancer and surgery help clarify the relationship between sin, suffering, and repentance?

    2. Repentance is not simply a checklist; it must be centered in Jesus Christ.

      • Invite students to review the first paragraph in the “Detour #2” section if needed, and then consider discussing one or both of the following questions:

        • In what ways can thinking about repentance as a checklist delay our true repentance?

        • How does Elder Andersen reframe the steps (the five Rs) of repentance?

      • You could also review the list of the five Rs in the “Detour #2” section and invite students to talk about how centering each of those steps in the Savior could provide spiritual power and perspective to an individual seeking to repent.

    3. Repentance is not just changing behavior; it is turning toward the Savior.

      • You might invite students to think about what is wrong with believing the misconception expressed in the third detour. You could then discuss the following question:

        • How could this detour delay repentance or prevent us from relying on the Savior?

      • As students talk about this detour, choose one or more of the paragraphs in the “Detour #3” section to help identify a truth similar to the one stated just above. (Elder Andersen expands on this idea in the next chapter.)

    4. Repentance alone does not redeem us. Jesus Christ is the Giver of our forgiveness.

      • You could use the first paragraph of the “Detour #4” section to help students identify a truth like the one stated just above. You might also invite students to talk about why they think this truth is important to understand.

      • Consider giving students a few minutes to ponder and write about what ideas they have regarding repentance that may need to change as they repent and seek the Lord’s forgiveness.

Chapter 14

Repentance is turning away from our sins, turning toward the Savior, and coming unto Him.

  • Consider starting this section with a small object lesson. Invite a student to stand on one side of the room while you place a picture of Jesus Christ on the opposite side. Ask the student to begin walking toward the picture. Then have the student stop, turn away from the Savior, and walk in a different direction, representing a choice to sin. Ask the class how this action can be corrected.

    Invite the class to share how President Russell M. Nelson defined the word repent (see the first three paragraphs of the section “Turning Away from Our Sins” or President Nelson’s talk “We Can Do Better and Be Better” [from time code 0:50 to 2:57]).

    Ask the class what the student needs to do to repent. Then have the student turn around, back toward the picture of the Savior. Ask the student to begin walking again toward the picture of Jesus Christ. Help students identify a truth similar to the one stated in the section heading above. You might then discuss one or both of the following questions:

    • How would you describe the difference between true repentance and merely changing our behavior? (If needed, refer to the fourth paragraph in the section “Turning Away from Our Sins,” which begins “But this change is …”)

    • What have you done to come unto the Savior in meaningful ways as you repent?

Repentance is not an event but a way of life.

  • You might invite the class to read the first sentence in the section “A Way of Life” and then ask:

    • What do you think Elder Andersen means when he says repentance is a way of life? What are some ways that we can make repentance a way of life?

  • Consider concluding class by giving students time to read and think about the last two paragraphs of chapter 14 and ponder how they could come closer to the Savior. You might invite students to set a goal or reminders to act on what the Spirit prompts them to do.

Note: If time permits, consider showing the video “Preparing to Serve” (2:43) at the end of class. This video can help students see how chapter 16 applies to them even if they are not planning on serving a full-time mission any time soon.

For Next Time

Invite students in the coming week as they study chapter 15 to look for what “three friends” Elder Andersen says will accompany them on the road to forgiveness.

For chapter 16, invite students to look as they read for things that apply to them in their lives right now. If you were unable to share the video “Preparing to Serve” (2:43) at the end of class, consider sending students a link to the video early in the week and encouraging them to watch the video before reading chapter 16.